Rabbi Yitzchak opened [his discourse concerning the wine and fats offered in idolatrous practice] and said: "Those [the idolaters] that eat the fat of their sacrifices and drink the wine of their offering [that they had put before their deities]". (Deut. 32:38) Worthy are Israel that they are holy and G‑d desires to sanctify them [further and therefore commands them to be careful with their food and drink].

Come and see: All the [eternal] life of the world that the holy children of Israel inherit [both in this world and in the World to Come] is derived from the World to Come [the World of bina] for it is the source of all the living beings Above and below and the place where the preserved wine rests. [The bounty that flows from the world of bina is called 'preserved' wine for there it is protected from the forces of impurity. (n Hebrew, "meshumar" means both 'preserved' and 'protected'.)] From there, Life and Holiness issue out to all.

The wine of Israel [which they guard from an idolator's touch] is on account of the wine of another Israel [i.e. Zeir Anpin, receiving the bounty of bina, the preserved wine, the source of all wine]. One [wine, that of Israel below] depends on the other [wine of Israel Above, of Zeir Anpin], for the Supernal Israel [Zeir Anpin] derives life from it [the preserved wine in the world of bina]. Therefore, it is called 'the Tree of Life', which is a tree taken from a place called 'Life' from which life comes forth. Therefore, they [Israel] bless G‑d with wine [when making Kiddush on Shabbat and Festivals, Havdalah, Grace after Meals, consecrating marriage, and the rite of circumcision, all drawing down the bounty of the preserved wine]; the wine of Israel below is in this manner [of connection to the supernal preserved wine up High].

A non-Jew is impure and whoever approaches him will become impure. Therefore, if he approaches the wine of Israel, it is defiled and is forbidden. All the more forbidden is the wine made by a non-Jew. Do not say then that this alone, for everything that Israel do below is the same as the supernal model. The wine that is [made with proper Kashrut, thus rooted] in a supernal place is an image of the preserved wine [of bina, which is guarded from attachment by external forces].

Therefore, Israel drink the wine of Israel that has been made in Holiness as does Israel Above [Zeir Anpin] Who drinks wine [of bina] and is rooted and blessed by that holy supernal wine. They [Israel] do not drink wine made with impurity or from the side of impurity, for the spirit of impurity rests upon it and whoever drinks it defiles his spirit. He is defiled and he is not of the side of Israel and has no share in the World to Come, for in the World to Come [of bina] lies the preserved, protected wine.

Therefore, the holy Israel must guard this more than anything else, in order to be connected to the place of the World to Come. Therefore, the Holy One, Blessed be He [Zeir Anpin] is blessed by using wine more than with anything else, for it gladdens the left side [of gevura]. In that rejoicing, it is included in the right side [the wine arouses joy and thus includes the right which is chesed and sweetens all judgments]. Thus, when all becomes right [of chesed] the Divine Name is in bliss and blessings are all over the worlds. By that act below, an action is elicited above. Therefore, one prepares wine [below] to correspond with the wine [Above].

Therefore, because it [wine] is preserved Above [in bina], it should be guarded below, and any protection of it is holiness for Israel. One who defiles it below from the Side of Impurity will be defiled in this world and have no share in the World to Come, the place where that preserved wine rests. He does not protect it; he will not be protected in the World to Come. He defiles it, therefore, he will be defiled in that world and will have no share in the wine of the World to Come. Worthy are Israel who sanctify their souls with supernal Holiness, guard whatever should be guarded, and sanctify the King with this supernal protection. Worthy are they in this world and in the World to Come.

BeRahamim LeHayyim: What does this mean to you, and why is it revealed now?

The Zohar has some very harsh things to record about the lack of spirituality of non-Jews. Non-Jewish wine especially is condemned. The mere touch of a non-Jew onto the open bottle of unheated wine of a Jew ritually contaminates it. This is tough medicine for those modern readers who are trying to find harmony amongst the nations. All we can say here is the Jewish law is Jewish Law. We don't have to like it, but we do have to follow it.

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
Copyright 2003 by KabbalaOnline.org, a project of Ascent of Safed (//ascentofsafed.com). All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, unless with permission, in writing, from Kabbala Online.