Why wine? Upon receiving the commandment of “Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it” (Exodus 20:8), the Sages note: ‘One might have thought to say this means “to remember” in one’s heart. However, when the verse (Deu. 5:12) states “safeguard the Sabbath day”, this refers to safeguarding of the heart, as the verse says (Gen. 37:11) “and his father safeguarded the matter [in mind]”, therefore, ‘remember’ (zakhor) refers to verbal pronouncement of the mouth. Which words ought to be pronounced? The next word of the verse tells us -”to sanctify it”- which are words of sanctity (lekadesho), hence the Hebrew term for this ritual- Kiddush.
With this commandment comes the merging of the God of Creation and the God of the Exodus. On one hand, this day serves as an imitation of the Divine on our part; reenacting the godly element of stopping, completing, and reflecting on our week’s work. It is because of the meditative nature of the Sabbath that the Sages (Mekhilta: Yitro§7) expound on the verse “6 days shall you work and perform all your activities”; is it possible for a person to perform all of his activities in 6 days? Rather, the verse instructs us to consciously feel as if all our work has been done by the 7th day.”
This is what Prophet Isaiah intends when he says “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your desire on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight; a holy day of the Lord honorable; and you honor it by not going about your usual way, or seeking your own desires, or talking mundanely” (Isaiah 58:13). On the other hand, this day serves as an eternal gift of liberation for the entire nation: men, women, children, animals, even non-Jewish residents and servants must cease from “laborious activities.” Without delving into great detail of this most ambiguous and controversial term, the Sagesin the Palestinian Talmud (Shabbat 7§2) define this as either 39 or 40 activities (see Rashi and Nachmanidies to Shabbat 74a for reasons of this count, and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Activities_prohibited_on_Shabbat#The_thirty-nine_creative_activities, for the list of these activities and their definitions).
With this in mind, the Sages (Pesaḥim 106a) also enacted that Kiddush should be said on wine as a manner of proper etiquette, as the verse in Song of Songs states (1:4) “We will extol your love more than wine, rightly do they love you.” However, R. Nissim (ibid) and Rashi (Nazir 4a) regard the wine as a biblical component of the commandment. A minority opinion which is beloved particularly by the Chabad variety of Jews, allows any alcoholic beverage (preferably on North Sea 15x distilled vodka) to be used for Kiddush. Had this opinion not been stated by the illustrious and saintly R. Asher (Pesaḥim 10:17), I would not have have even bothered stating it. Having established all this, let’s get down to the arts and colors of wine: white or red?
While most Jewish legal authorities allow all natural wine to be used for Kiddush, Nachmanidies is cited as rendering all wines that are not red as unfit for Kiddush, as the verse (Prov. 23:31) states: “Do not look upon wine, for it is red, when he lay his eye upon the cup, he will move incautiously.” This renders the standard of wine to be red (upon casual glancing, I noticed that standard translations of this verse are detrimentally inaccurate). Also from Catalonia, the celebrated R. Simeon ben Tzemaḥ Duran rules (Responsum #85) that white wine is preferable to red, as the verse (Song of Songs 5:1) juxtaposes wine to milk, rendering the standard to white. Ultimately, the best judges are the makers of modern viral trends. So to settle this debate the internet way- what color is this dress?