Can I Send Gift Baskets To My Non-Jewish Employees That Contain Bottles Of Non-Kosher Wine?
By: Halacha Yomit team of OU KOSHER
Can I send gift baskets to my non-Jewish employees that contain bottles of non-kosher wine?
Shulchan Aruch (YD 123:1) writes that stam yainam (wine that was made by a nachri) is forbidden. Not only may we not drink such wine, but we are forbidden to derive any benefit from it as well. This is because polytheists in our society may have poured wine in the service of idolatry. Sefardim, who generally follow the rulings of the Shulchan Aruch, may not benefit from stam yainam under all circumstances.
Rama disagrees. He notes that there is a dispute between poskim whether one may derive benefit from stam yainam in our day and age. Some poskim maintain that idolatrous libations are no longer common. While stam yainam remains prohibited for drinking because of the concern of intermarriage, it is no longer restricted for benefit. Other poskim are of the opinion that the restriction on benefit remains in place today as well. Because the matter is in dispute, Rama concludes that it is best to be stringent and not derive benefit, but in situations of loss or need, one may follow the lenient view and derive benefit. Ashkenazim generally follow Rama and can be lenient in cases of loss.
Sending wine as a gift is considered a benefit because of the good will that the gift generates. Since this is not a situation of loss or need, both the Shulchan Aruch and Rama agree that such use of stam yainam is not permitted.