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A11. Wine & Drunkenness.    [Make a Comment]

We may partake of wine but must not become intoxicated.

This precept is derived from His Word (blessed be He):

Key Scriptures

Leviticus 10:8-11 (Maimonides RN73; Chinuch C152)
ADONAI said to Aharon, "Don't drink any wine or other intoxicating liquor, neither you nor your sons with you, when you enter the tent of meeting, so that you will not die. This is to be a permanent regulation through all your generations, so that you will distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean; and so that you will teach the people of Isra'el all the laws ADONAI has told them through Moshe."

Matthew 26:27-29 (see also Mark 14:23-25; Luke 22:17-18; 1 Corinthians 11:25-27)
Also he took a cup of wine, made the b'rakhah, and gave it to them, saying, "All of you, drink from it! For this is my blood, which ratifies the New Covenant, my blood shed on behalf of many, so that they may have their sins forgiven. I tell you, I will not drink this 'fruit of the vine' again until the day I drink new wine with you in my Father's Kingdom."

1 Timothy 3:2-3
A congregation leader [elder] must be above reproach, he must be faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, orderly, hospitable and able to teach. He must not drink excessively or get into fights; rather, he must be kind and gentle. He must not be a lover of money.

1 Timothy 3:8
Likewise, the shammashim must be of good character, people whose word can be trusted. They must not give themselves to excessive drinking or be greedy for dishonest gain.

Ephesians 5:18
Don't get drunk with wine, because it makes you lose control. Instead, keep on being filled with the Spirit

Supportive Scriptures - Leaders Have a Special Responsibility to Not Become Intoxicated

Proverbs 31:4-5
It is not for kings, L'mu'el, not for kings to drink wine; it is not for rulers to ask, "Where can I find strong liquor?" For they may drink, then forget what has been decreed, and pervert the justice due to the poor. (See also, 1 Timothy 3:2-3, 8)

Supportive Scriptures - Wine in Moderation is Permitted (& Even Recommended) for Suitable Purposes

Genesis 14:18
Malki-Tzedek king of Shalem brought out bread and wine. He was cohen of El 'Elyon [God Most High] ...

Psalm 104:14-15
You grow grass for the cattle; and for people you grow the plants they need to bring forth bread from the earth, wine that gladdens the human heart, oil to make faces glow, and food to sustain their strength.

Proverbs 3:9-10
Honor ADONAI with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your income. Then your granaries will be filled and your vats overflow with new wine.

Proverbs 31:6-7
Give strong liquor to one who is perishing, wine to the deeply depressed; let him drink, forget his poverty and cease to remember his troubles.

John 2:1-11
On Tuesday there was a wedding at Kanah in the Galil; and the mother of Yeshua was there. Yeshua too was invited to the wedding, along with his talmidim. The wine ran out, and Yeshua's mother said to him, "They have no more wine." Yeshua replied, "Mother, why should that concern me? - or you? My time hasn't come yet." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Now six stone water-jars were standing there for the Jewish ceremonial washings, each with a capacity of twenty or thirty gallons. Yeshua told them, "Fill the jars with water," and they filled them to the brim. He said, "Now draw some out, and take it to the man in charge of the banquet"; and they took it. The man in charge tasted the water; it had now turned into wine! He did not know where it had come from, but the servants who had drawn the water knew. So he called the bridegroom and said to him, "Everyone else serves the good wine first and the poorer wine after people have drunk freely. But you have kept the good wine until now!" This, the first of Yeshua's miraculous signs, he did at Kanah in the Galil; he manifested his glory, and his talmidim came to trust in him.

1 Timothy 5:23
Stop drinking water; instead, use a little wine for the sake of your digestion and because of your frequent illnesses.

Supportive Scriptures - Intoxication with Wine & Other Substances is Prohibited

Isaiah 5:11
Woe to those who get up early to pursue intoxicating liquor; who stay up late at night, until wine inflames them.

Isaiah 5:22-23
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, men whose power goes to mixing strong drinks, who acquit the guilty for bribes but deny justice to the righteous!

Isaiah 28:7
But there are others reeling from wine, staggering about because of strong liquor; cohen and prophet reel from strong liquor, they are confused by wine. Led astray by strong liquor, they err in their visions and stumble when judging.

Hosea 4:11
Whoring and wine, both old and new, take away my people's wits.

Proverbs 20:1
Wine is a mocker, strong liquor a rowdy; anyone led astray by it is unwise.

Proverbs 23:20-21
Don't be one of those who guzzle wine or of those who eat meat to excess, for both drunkard and glutton will become poor - drowsiness will clothe them with rags.

Proverbs 23:29-35
Who has misery? Who has regret? Who fights and complains all the time? Who gets bruised for no good reason? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who spend their time over wine, those always trying out mixed drinks. Don't gaze at the red wine as it gives its color to the cup. It may glide down smoothly now; but in the end, it bites like a serpent - yes, it strikes like a poisonous snake. Your eyes will see peculiar things, your mind will utter nonsense. You will feel as if lying on the waves of the sea or sprawled on top of the mast - They hit me, but I didn't feel it! They beat me up, and I didn't even know it! When will I wake up? ... I'll go get another drink."

Romans 13:13
Let us live properly, as people do in the daytime - not partying and getting drunk, not engaging in sexual immorality and other excesses, not quarrelling and being jealous.

1 Corinthians 5:11
No, what I wrote you was not to associate with anyone who is supposedly a brother but who also engages in sexual immorality, is greedy, worships idols, is abusive, gets drunk or steals. With such a person you shouldn't even eat!

Galatians 5:19-20
And it is perfectly evident what the old nature does. It expresses itself in sexual immorality, impurity and indecency; involvement with the occult and with drugs; in feuding, fighting, becoming jealous and getting angry; in selfish ambition, factionalism, intrigue and envy; in drunkenness, orgies and things like these. I warn you now as I have warned you before: those who do such things will have no share in the Kingdom of God!

1 Peter 4:3
For you have spent enough time already living the way the pagans want you to live - in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, wild parties and forbidden idol-worship.

Supportive Scriptures - Neither Wine Nor Grapes Are to be Consumed by Those Who Have Taken a Nazirite Vow

Numbers 6:2-4
Tell the people of Isra'el, 'When either a man or a woman makes a special kind of vow, the vow of a nazir, consecrating himself to ADONAI; he is to abstain from wine and other intoxicating liquor, he is not to drink vinegar from either source, he is not to drink grape juice, and he is not to eat grapes or raisins. As long as he remains a nazir he is to eat nothing derived from the grapevine, not even the grape-skins or the seeds.


The above Scriptures speak for themselves. Drunkenness is prohibited; drinking wine in moderation is not. Wine is used in various ways within Messianic Judaism - as one of the elements in the Shulchan Adonai (the Lord's Table), for Kiddush, for Havdalah, and as a celebratory beverage.

Classical Commentators

Of the numerous Scriptures that command against becoming intoxicated through drinking, Maimonides and HaChinuch quote only Leviticus 10:8-11 that prohibits priests from entering the Temple after drinking wine or other intoxicating liquor. Meir does not address the subject at all.


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