OPINIONS: The Mishnah earlier (29b) states that a Jew is forbidden to drink wine of an idolater, because the idolater's wine was likely used for serving his Avodah Zarah ("Yayin Nesech"). The Gemara later (36b) states that even wine that is not known to have been poured for Avodah Zarah is also forbidden ("Stam Yayin"). The Gemara here teaches that these prohibitions do not apply to wine that has been cooked ("Yayin Mevushal"). Why do these prohibitions not apply to Yayin Mevushal?
(a) The simple reason why Yayin Mevushal that belonged to (or was touched by) a Nochri is permitted is that such wine is never used for Avodah Zarah. Yayin Mevushal is not fit to be used for Avodah Zarah (according to the laws of the idolaters), and thus the Chachamim did not prohibit it (LEVUSH YD 123:3).
This reason is also implied by the RAMBAM (Hilchos Ma'achalos Asuros 11:10). The Rambam states that wine which contains a small amount of honey has the same Halachic status as cooked wine because it is not fit to be offered on an altar of Avodah Zarah.
(b) The ROSH here has difficulty with this reasoning. The Gemara in Shabbos (17b) gives a different reason for why Stam Yayin is forbidden. The Gemara there says that the reason for this prohibition is to ensure that people do not become too cordial with Nochrim, for such friendliness leads to intermarriage. According to this reason, what difference does it make if the wine is cooked or not? It still should be prohibited to drink Yayin Mevushal of a Nochri in order to prevent intermingling.
Moreover, if the reason why Yayin Mevushal is permitted is that it is not used for Avodah Zarah, then it also should be permitted to drink diluted wine of a Nochri, because such wine also is not fit for an altar of Avodah Zarah. However, we know that diluted wine is not permitted.
The Rosh suggests that perhaps the reason why Yayin Mevushal is permitted is that wine is usually not cooked (since cooking diminishes the taste of the wine). Since Yayin Mevushal is not common, perhaps the Chachamim did not apply their prohibition to such wine.
REBBI AKIVA EIGER (YD 123, DH d'Af Al Gav) has difficulty with the reasoning of the Rosh. When the Gemara in Shabbos says that one is forbidden to drink wine of Nochrim because doing so might lead to intermingling, it is discussing only Stam Yayin, wine owned by Nochrim that is not known to have been used for Avodah Zarah. The Gemara does not give that reason for the prohibition against drinking wine owned by a Jew that was merely touched by a Nochri. Indeed, the Rosh himself differentiates and says that while the wine owned by a Ger Toshav (a Nochri who accepts the seven Mitzvos of Bnei Noach in front of Beis Din) cannot be consumed by a Jew, wine owned by a Jew that was merely touched by a Ger Toshav is permitted. This implies that the reason why wine touched by a Nochri is forbidden is only the concern of Avodah Zarah, and not the concern of intermingling (because the reason of intermingling should also prohibit drinking wine touched by a Ger Toshav). This is also the opinion of the RASHASH (29b).
There is a practical difference between these opinions. If a Nochri offers a bottle of Yayin Mevushal (which was not poured for Avodah Zarah before it was cooked) to a Jewish guest in his home, may the Jew drink it? According to the explanation of the Rosh (that the Chachamim did not enact their decree in the case of cooked wine, since cooked wine is uncommon), even if the Nochri owns the wine there should be no reason to prohibit the Jew from drinking it. This indeed is the ruling of the TAZ and PERISHAH.
According to Rebbi Akiva Eiger, it seems that Yayin Mevushal is permitted for a Jew to drink only when the wine belongs to the Jew and was merely touched by a Nochri. If the Nochri owns the wine and is offering it to his Jewish guest, it should be prohibited for the Jew to drink, due to the decree of the Chachamim to avoid situations that might lead to intermarriage.
The HAR TZVI (YD 111) points out that the RAMBAM (11:9), TUR, and SHULCHAN ARUCH mention only the leniency of Yayin Mevushal in the context of wine owned by a Jew that was touched by a Nochri; they do not mention that a Nochri's own wine is permitted if it is cooked. The Har Tzvi concludes, therefore, that it is questionable whether or not it is permitted to drink Yayin Mevushal produced by Nochrim, even when it is evident that the wine was not poured for Avodah Zarah. (Y. MONTROSE)


QUESTION: The Mishnah in Terumos (8:6) states that when one finds a type of fruit which is juicy and sees that it is split, he must suspect that a Sheretz may have inserted poison into the fruit and he may not eat it. The Gemara says that if a fig, which contains a hole in the place of the stem, is left out unsupervised, one does not need to suspect that the hole may have been an entranceway for the poison of a Sheretz, and he may eat the fruit. The Gemara states that this in accordance with the view of Rebbi Eliezer who says that a person is allowed to eat grapes and figs at night and he does not need to worry about the element of danger inherent in doing so. Rebbi Eliezer derives this leniency from the verse, "Shomer Pesa'im Hash-m" -- "Hash-m protects the fools" (Tehilim 116:6). This principle of Hash-m's protection of fools is mentioned in other places as well (see Kesuvos 39a, Nidah 31a).
The KOVETZ SHI'URIM (Kesuvos #136) asks, what does this statement of Rebbi Eliezer mean? We know that the Torah requires us to go to great extents to prevent danger to life, even to desecrate Shabbos if doing so will protect a person's life. Why, then, may one be careless and take the risk of eating a fig at night, and rely on Hash-m's protection?
(a) The KOVETZ SHI'URIM answers that the requirement to protect one's health does not require a person to avoid doing a normal action. It is normal to eat food at any time of day and night. Accordingly, this form of behavior cannot be restricted, and thus Hash-m guards fools from danger that comes as a result of normal behavior. Hash-m does not protect a person who can avoid doing a dangerous action which is not a normal form of behavior.
The Kovetz Shi'urim does not explain how this applies to the laws of Shabbos. Why is one permitted to desecrate Shabbos in order to avoid endangering one's life, when the observance of Shabbos is a normal form of behavior? The SEDER YAKOV here explains that if a person is at risk of danger on Shabbos and there is something he can do in order to remove himself from that danger, then Hash-m does not guard the person from danger. This is because the concept of "Shomer Pesa'im Hash-m" applies only to people who cannot help themselves.
This obviously does not mean that a person is permitted to do anything dangerous in the realm of eating and drinking. After all, the Mishnah in Terumos and the Gemara here say that it is prohibited to eat and drink certain items because of the health risk that they pose. The ME'IRI explains that when an act involves a danger that is very apparent or common, a person must be careful not to do that act. (Accordingly, one may assume that the snakes common in the times of the Gemara only rarely placed their poison into the mouths of figs.)
The TORAS CHAIM gives another explanation for why Hash-m protects a person who eats figs at night. Since figs are difficult to watch (apparently because they are normally kept out of a jar), Hash-m protects one who eats them. One who drinks water that was left uncovered, on the other hand, is not protected, because water is normally kept inside of a vessel and is easily watched. (Apparently, the Toras Chaim maintains that figs are no less of a target for a snake than is water.)