[Avodah] A fly landed in my cup of wine.

Prof. L. Levine llevine at stevens.edu
Thu Sep 30 06:12:24 PDT 2021

>From today's OU Kosher Halacha Yomis

Q. A fly landed in my cup of wine. May I remove the fly and drink the wine, or must I spill it out?

A. The Gemara (Megila 13b) states that the wicked Haman maligned the Jews to Achashveirosh. Haman reported that if a fly would fall in a cup of wine, the Jews would remove the fly and drink the wine, but if King Achashveirosh would touch the wine, the Jews would spill out the wine and kasher the cup. The Rosh (Avoda Zara 5:11) (as understood by Teshuvas Shar Efraim, siman 47) indicates that it is acceptable to drink the wine because there is no transfer of taste from one cold substance to another. However, if the fly remains in the wine for 24 hours, this would be viewed as a form of cooking and the wine would be prohibited. (Soaking for 24 hours or more is known in halacha as kovush, which means pickled, and kovush kimivushal- pickling has the halachic status of cooking.) Other poskim disagree and maintain that the wine is permissible even after 24 hours because a fly imparts a taam pogum (an off taste), and taam pagum is batel birov (nullified in a majority). The Shulchan Aruch and Rema (YD 104:3) follow the lenient opinion. However, if one is disgusted by the thought of drinking wine that had in it a fly, it would be forbidden for him to do so because of “bal tishaktsu” (it is forbidden to do something that one finds disgusting- see Shulchan Aruch YD 116:6).

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