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Absinthe and Jewish Customs

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Found his little bit of interesting Absinthe history. For those of you that don't know, Havadalah is the ritual that religious Jews do to mark the end of the Jewish Sabbath (and other festivals like Rosh Hashanah, Succos, Yom Kippur, Passover etc).

 

It usually involves, fire, nice smelling herbs and always includes wine or some beverage (the discussion of what kind of beverage can be used for Havadalah could take pages and pages...but apparently Absinthe is ok.

 

This particular story is from a translation of a letter sent by the 6th Lubuvitcher Rebbe Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (known internally as the Rayatz) to his daughter, Rebbetzin Chayah Mushka, who eventually became the wife of the Rebbe most of us know so well.

 

I won't post the whole thing here but here is a blurb.

 

On the way, Reb Mordechai mentioned that for several years it had been his custom at the end of Yom Kippur to recite Havdalah over absinthe (a strong, bitter liquor brewed from an extract of certain plants), and he dispatched someone to fetch him some absinthe. Meanwhile, he and Reb Chayim went into his private chamber.

 

 

 

 

 

You can read the whole story here.

 

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2313049/jewish/Chapter-Seven-After-Yom-Kippur-with-the-Maggid.htm

 

The attached picture is a photoshop version of the fabragan wine label to give you an idea of what this might have looked like.

 

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post-4474-0-82733900-1419636153_thumb.jpg

Edited by obercreative

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Hmmm

This is a case were the original text needs to be examined.

A common mistranslation is to mistake 'absinthe' the drink and 'absinthe' the plant.

and consider with "Wermut" could be 'wormwood' or ;vermouth'

 

I assume the original text was Yiddish? I think it is more likely that they were drinking vermouth or possibly a wormwood infused wine.

 

Absinthe in Imperial Russia and eastern Europe was not common at all.

Can you find the original text?

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Hmmm

This is a case were the original text needs to be examined.

A common mistranslation is to mistake 'absinthe' the drink and 'absinthe' the plant.

and consider with "Wermut" could be 'wormwood' or ;vermouth'

 

I assume the original text was Yiddish? I think it is more likely that they were drinking vermouth or possibly a wormwood infused wine.

 

Absinthe in Imperial Russia and eastern Europe was not common at all.

Can you find the original text?

Good point. I'm working on it.

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I've always found it interesting that "wormwood" is mentioned 7 times in the Torah, and that there are some specific references to hyssop in treatment of physical, spiritual and emotional skin conditions.

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