Do You Wash Your Clothing in Hot Water, Cold Water or Wine?

In Parshat Vayechi, at the end of Yaakov’s bracha to Yehuda he says (Breisheet 49:11-12) “He loads his young donkey with grapes of a vine (gefen iro), and his she-donkey’s foal with a vine branch. He washes his clothes in wine (kibes bayayin levusho), his cloak in the blood of grapes (u’vdam anavim suto). His eyes are red from wine, and his teeth are whiter than milk”.


What is Yaakov trying to allude to in this part of the Bracha which at first glance seems quite obscure?


According to Rashi, Yaakov prophesied about the Land of Yehuda that it would be extremely productive and would flow with wine like a fountain. The vine will produce as many grapes as a donkey can carry. The idea that one would have enough wine to “wash their clothing in” emphasizes the overabundance of wine.


Over the last few days I had the opportunity to experience part of this Nevua (prophecy) first hand. When traveling around Israel one can see many vineyards especially in the territory of Yehuda (in Gush Etzion) as well as throughout the country including in the Golan Heights. Not only do you see the vineyards, you also see the wineries as well as the abundance of every possible wine on the shelves of wine stores and supermarkets.


We actually had the opportunity to watch how good quality wine is produced in a winery as well as to sample the different types of wine. As the tour guide put it, Kosher wine used to be thought of as the very sweet tasting Manischevitz. We are here to bring high quality wine back to the Land of Israel.


Let’s hope and pray that Israel can continue to produce an abundance of Anavim (grapes), Tirosh (grape juice) and Yayin (wine) and fulfill Yaakov’s prophecy. As far as the laundry is concerned- I would like to keep my whites white- although purple clothing isn’t so bad- it was the color of royalty.