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Coke and Beer for Kiddush

Hello a Rabbi here holds that coke is chamar medina to make kiddush on, what is the Rav’s opinion? Also is beer or whisky considered chamar medina?


Although some authorities are lenient concerning this matter, it is better to refrain from using Coca Cola as chamar medina.

Beer and whisky are generally considered to be chamar medina.

Please see below for more details.

Best wishes.


Concerning the question of what beverages constitute chamar medina, the Shulchan Aruch makes specific mention of beer, the Mishnah Berurah (272:24) explaining that this refers to a place where beer is chamar medina—a ‘national beverage.’ It is important, in this context, to define exactly when a beverage falls under the classification of a ‘national beverage.’

According to the Shulchan Aruch Harav (182:2-3), there are two criteria that must be met for a beverage to attain the status of chamar medina. First, the drink must be one that people use as a primary beverage for a meal, much the way it was common to drink wine with most meals in ancient times. Second, the beverage must not be cheap and trivial, but should have some significance.

Therefore, although borscht was commonly drunk with meals, due to its low stature, it would not be considered chamar medinah.

Rav Moshe Feinstein (Iggros MosheOrach Chaim Vol. 2, no. 75) defines chamar medina as a beverage one might serve to a guest to whom one wishes to show respect (and not merely for the purpose of quenching his thirst).

In a practical sense, a number of poskim write that milk is not considered chamar medina (see Mishnah Berurah 272:25, citing from Shaarei Teshuvah and Birchei Yosef). However, it is possible that this applies to times and locales where milk was not commonly drunk. Today, milk is far more common as an everyday beverage, and it is possible that the halachah will change accordingly—though there remains room to argue that it is drunk as a health supplement and not as a standard beverage (see also Aruch Ha-Shulchan 272:14, 296:13).

By contrast, most authorities agree that tea and coffee are considered chamar medina (see Daas Torah 296:2; Aruch Ha-Shulchan 272:14; Iggros Mosheloc. cit.; Tzitz Eliezer 8:16), though some raise the concern that tea and coffee are in fact “flavored water,” and therefore disqualified as chamar medinah (see Machazeh Eliyahu no. 34 who raises this concern, also claiming that because tea and coffee are generally not drunk during a meal, they might not be considered chamar medina).

Note also that according to the Halachos Ketanos (1:9), a non-alcoholic beverage cannot be considered chamar medina, though this ruling is not adopted by most authorities.

Returning now to cola, the Iggros Moshe writes (based on his analysis) that soda cannot be considered as chamar medina, and this will also apply to other soft drinks, which don’t carry the degree of “importance” required for chamar medina. Thus, although some authorities are lenient concerning soda (see Shearim Metzuyanim Behalacha 5:page 74; Rivevos Ephraim 3:290, and p. 358, citing from a number of authorities), it is better to be stringent in this matter.


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