Chamar Medina

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Chamar Medina is a special drink in that locale which can substitute for when wine or grape juice is necessary. Which drinks are included in that category is described below. Additionally, it is relevant to many specific areas of halacha and for the nuances in each topic see the respective page: Kiddush#If_there_is_no_wine_or_grape_juice, Havdalah#If_there_is_no_wine_or_grape_juice, The_Meals_of_Shabbat#Wine_for_Kiddish, The_Four_Cups_of_Wine#Chamar_Medina, Three_Weeks#Meat_and_Wine, and Nine_Days#Eating_Meat_and_Drinking_Wine.

What is Chamar Medina?

  1. Chamar Medina includes beer or cognac and does not include soda, coffee, tea, orange juice, lemonade, or water.[1]
  2. One may not use soda because soda isn't considered Chamar Medina.[2]


  1. Shulchan Aruch 296:2 writes that one may make Havdalah on beer if it is Chamar Medina or other drinks besides for water. Birkei Yosef 296:3 clarifies that the Shulchan Aruch's language of "or other drinks" didn't mean to include milk and oil, but rather he meant other types of Chamar Medina and exclude water even if the people of the town only drink water. Sh"t Igrot Moshe 2:75 rules that soda is just like water, isn't Chamar Medina, and thus, can not be used for Havdalah. Sh"t Vayan Avraham (Izrael) Siman 34 (pg 63) writes that he remembers in the holocaust the question arose whether lemonade could be used for Havdalah and he concludes that it just like water and can’t be used for Havdalah. Yalkut Yosef 296:8 writes that one may not use coffee, tea, orange juice, or soda for Havdalah, but one if there's no wine in the city, one may use beer or cognac which are considered Chamar Medina; Chazon Ovadia, Hilchot Shabbat, Chelek 2, Page 408 specifies that coffee, tea, milk, and fruit juice are not considered chamar medina, and therefore one may not make havdalah with them.
  2. Sh"t Igrot Moshe 2:75 rules that soda is just like water and can not be used for Kiddish.