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Kedushat shevi'it wine that sours

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I have semi-sweet wine from otzar beit din from 2001, which soured. Am I allowed to pour it down the drain?


Rabbi Avraham Socholovsky

The Mishnah in Shevi'it 8:2 states as follows:

Shemitah-year produce may be used for food, drink and for anointing. That which is usually eaten can be used for food only; that which is usually used for anointing can be used only for anointing, and that which is usually used for drinking can be used for drink only. One may not anoint with wine and vinegar, but one may anoint with oil. So too with terumah and the second tithe. Greater leniency was applied to [oil of] the seventh year, since it can be used for lamp-kindling.

That is, shemitah produce can be used in the regular manner and can be eaten in the usual way.

We also learn in the Yerushalmi (Shevi'it 8:2) that people are not obligated to eat foods that are not usually eaten: "one is not obligated to eat bread that became moldy, vegetable peels or cores (kenibat yarak), or a cooked dish that spoiled (lit. "whose form has changed")."

That is, when food with kedushat shevi'it spoils—whether raw, cooked, or baked (wine included)—we are not obligated to eat it. From here we also learn that under these conditions, the food's sanctity expires.

This is the Rambam's ruling (Hilchot Shemitah VeYovel 5:3): "Nor should one press himself to eat a cooked dish that has spoiled or bread that has become moldy, as he does not eat such foods that are terumah or the second tithe."

For this reason, wine that had kedushat shevi'it that went sour no longer has kedushat shevi'it and can be poured out or otherwise discarded.