Rabbi Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz on Prohibition Abuse of Wine Exemption
“Das Neutige Operaziya” [The Necessary Operation], published in Dos
Yiddishe Licht I (1923): 3-4, Rabbi Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz, the
principal of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath, launched a bitter critique of
Orthodox life in America by criticizing rabbinic involvement in the wine
One need only consider the wine business which many rabbis
are heavily engaged in.
How much shame, how much degradation, how much
desecration of the honor of the Torah lies therein! Rabbis who ought to
be the ones to ensure that the laws of the land are upheld are instead
the direct or indirect cause of their violation.
If truth be told,
even if wine for ritual purpose were a biblical commandment, the
current desecration of God’s name would still not be justified, how much
more so that it is only a rabbinic commandment, and it can be fulfilled
by using raisin wine! . . .
Therefore, I beseech you, my brethren, no
matter how great a Torah scholar a rabbi is, if he is a cause for the
desecration of Heaven, he must be removed from the community.
Sprecher (1991) “Let Them Drink and Forget Our Poverty” : Orthodox
Rabbis React to Prohibition.” American Jewish Archives 40:135-179.
Dos Yiddishe Licht, Volume I:7 (1923): page 13