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Collected Essays: v. 1$
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Haym Soloveitchik

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113973

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113973.001.0001

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Can Halakhic Texts Talk History?

Can Halakhic Texts Talk History?

(p.169) Chapter Seven Can Halakhic Texts Talk History?
Collected Essays: v. 1

Haym Soloveitchik

Liverpool University Press

This chapter studies the author's essay which examines halakhic texts to explore the views of Early Ashkenaz on the doctrine of yein nesekh. The Talmud had imposed a severe ban on drinking and trading in Gentile wine or wine that a non-Jew had so much as touched. The social difficulties that this injunction entailed are common knowledge; the economic burdens, though less well known, were no less great. Basic to any discussion of yein nesekh, whether from the point of view of the development of Jewish law or this law's impact on the lives of those who chose to abide by halakhic restrictions, is the question: at what stage of the wine-making process do the manifold restrictions come into play? Economically, what is at stake is the point up to which it was possible for Jewish and Gentile operations to be meshed and the forms of Jewish enterprise were indistinguishable from the general ones, and the point from which Jewish wine production had to be conducted in isolation and at greater cost.

Keywords:   halakhic texts, Ashkenaz, yein nesekh, Talmud, Gentile wine, Jewish law, halakhic restrictions, wine-making process, Jewish wine production

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