This excerpt, from an article by Rabbi Maurice Lamm, explains the integral place of wine in Sabbath, festival, and wedding rituals, as a celebratory and symbolic marker between the mundane and the sacred. The significance of wine within Jewish ritual is a shared practice among Jews of all traditions.
Though Rabbi Lamm focuses specifically on the role of wine in wedding and Shabbat rituals, wine is used to sanctify and celebrate many different life cycle events and holidays in Jewish tradition. The circumcision ceremony, or brit milah, also includes wine as a symbol of transition, as the baby boy is brought into a covenant with God. Additionally, Jews are commanded to drink wine on the holidays of Purim and Pesach. The former, in order to forget the attempted destruction of the Jewish people while simultaneously celebrating its existence, and the latter, to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt and look forward to a time of redemption.
Rabbi Lamm is a professor at the Yeshiva University’s Rabbinical Seminary, an Orthodox institution in New York. His article is featured on Chabad.org, which appeals to non-observant Jews or those wishing to become more observant.