Of Haftaros and Havdalah: Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Av 5781
As detailed at length in a popular multi-part series earlier this year, titled “5781תשפ"א-– An Exceptional Year,” 5781 is a year that is chock-full of rare calendarical occurrences that we are taking an active part in. One interesting issue that arises is that for most of world Jewry, the special haftarah for Shabbos Rosh Chodesh was not and will not be leined the entirety of 5781, notwithstanding that Shabbos Rosh Chodesh technically occurs three times this year – including this upcoming Shabbos, Parashas Mattos-Masei – Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Av.
No Shabbos-Rosh Chodesh Haftara?
The first Shabbos Rosh Chodesh, technically Rosh Chodesh Tishrei, was Rosh Hashana, which as the Yom HaDin, trumps anything Rosh Chodesh-related (except for a brief, perfunctory mention of the Rosh Chodesh Korbanos in Mussaf). The second Shabbos Rosh Chodesh, Rosh Chodesh Adar, was Parashas Shekalim, which as one of the Arba Parshiyos, knocked off any other haftarah. Yet, the third occurrence of Shabbos Rosh Chodesh, on this upcoming Shabbos - Rosh Chodesh Av, is when it gets interesting.
As we know, most haftaros share some similarity with at least one concept presented in the Torah reading. The Gemara Megillah discusses the proper haftarah readings for the various holidays throughout the year. The Gemara states that whenever Rosh Chodesh falls out on Shabbos, a special haftarah is read: “Hashamayim Kisi,” as it mentions both the inyanim of Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh.
Our dilemma arises when that rule goes head-to-head with another rule. The Pesikta, (an early Midrash cited by many early authorities including Tosafos and the Abudraham) continues the teachings of Chazal as to the proper haftarah readings starting from the Fast of Shiva Assur B’Tamuz.
During the ‘Three Weeks’ from 17 Tamuz until Tisha B’Av, we read ‘T’lasa D’Paranusa’, ‘Three Readings of Misfortune.’ After Tisha B’Av (starting with Shabbos Nachamu, dubbed so due to its haftarah, Nachamu Nachamu Ami) until Rosh Hashana, ‘Shiva D’Nechemta’, or ‘Seven Readings of Consolation’ are read. This is followed by a reading of Teshuva, during the Shabbos between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, aptly named ‘Shabbos Shuva’, for its repentance themed haftarah starting with ‘Shuva Yisrael’. The Abudraham as well as Rabbeinu Tam, conclude that these special haftarah readings are so important, that they are never pushed off!
The $64,000 question becomes, what happens when Rosh Chodesh Av falls out on Shabbos? Which ruling trumps which? Do we follow the Gemara or the Pesikta? Do we stick with the ‘T’lasa D’Paranusa’or the special Rosh Chodesh reading?
The answer is that there is no easy answer! The Beis Yosef writes that the ikar halacha follows the Abudraham as he was considered the expert in these topics. Consequently, in the Shulchan Aruch, he only mentions that during the “Three Weeks” the ‘T’lasa D’Paranusa’ are read. Hence on Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Av, the Sefardic minhag is to only read the regularly scheduled haftarah of “Misfortune”: “Shimu,” (along with the first and last pasuk of Hashamayim Kisi).
Prague vs. Posen
Yet, figuring out the Ashkenazic minhag is not so simple. Aside from this being a divergence of minhag between the the cities of Prague and Posen, as well as a machlokes Rishonim, it is also a machlokes of Tosafos in different Masechtos. And although several Poskim conclude that whichever of the two haftaros is read is fine, nevertheless, the majority consensus seems to be that the minhag to read “Shimu” is the most prevalent, following the Mishnah Berurah’s citing of the Vilna Gaon’s position as the final word on the matter. Accordingly, to most of the world, the special Shabbos Rosh Chodesh haftarah of “Hashamayim Kisi” will not be read in 5781.
In fact, for most of Ashkenazic Jewry, “Hashamayim Kisi” won’t be read until Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Elul 5782, over a year from now, with Sefardim waiting an additional eight months, until Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Iyar 5783 (!). Contrast this with “Machar Chodesh”, the special haftarah ordinarily read on Shabbos directly preceding a Sunday Rosh Chodesh, which was last leined as the haftarah this past Parashas Bereishis (5781), will not be read again until Iyar 5782, almost a year from now.
A Double Header Haftarah?
Yet, there are those who opine, based on the mainstream Ashkenazic psak regarding Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Elul of doubling up haftaros that are consecutive in the Navi to enable all kriyos in certain years (this was discussed at length in an article titled “The Double-Header Haftarah”), that there is a potential solution available to satisfy all opinions. As noted by Rav Noach Isaac Oelbaum, citing several sefarim, the haftaros of the first two of three of the T’lasa D’Paranusa (“Divrei Yirmiyahu” and “Shimu”) are actually back to back in the original Navi (Yirmiyahu Ch. 1:1–2:3 and 2:4-28).
As such, they posit that when Rosh Chodesh Av falls on Shabbos, on the preceding week, the first of the T’lasa D’Paranusa, both “Divrei Yirmiyahu” and “Shimu” should be read, thus freeing up the next week for the regular Shabbos Rosh Chodesh reading of “Hashamayim Kisi.” Although a bit of a novel approach, nonetheless, in this manner, all opinions are satisfied and all necessary Kriyos are read. Rav Oelbaum concludes that in 5765/2005, there was a “Kol Koreh” M’Gedolei Rabbanim that this is the preferred mehalech to follow when Rosh Chodesh Av falls out on Shabbos. So although this may not (yet) be the mainstream Ashkenazic psak, nevertheless, this potential double-header haftarah certainly has merit.
The Nine Days
The Mishnah in Maseches Ta’anis famously teaches that “Mishenichnas Av Mema’atin Besimchah, When the month of Av arrives (Rosh Chodesh Av), we lessen our joy.” This is due to the heralding of the beginning of the tragedies that took place prior to the destruction of both Batei Hamikdash, from the breaching of the walls of ancient Jerusalem on the 17th of Tamuz, until the actual destruction of the Beis Hamikdash on the Ninth of Av. As detailed in the Mishnah and Gemara Taanis, both of these days have since become communal Fast Days, in remembrance of the tragedies that happened on these days. In order to properly commemorate and feel the devastation, halacha dictates various restrictions on us during this period, getting progressively stricter up until Tisha B’Av itself.
These ‘Nine Days’ restrictions include not eating meat or chicken, not drinking wine, not doing laundry, nor wearing freshly laundered clothing, nor pleasure bathing. Many of these restrictions are generally still in effect until midday (Chatzos) of the next day, the tenth of Av with some being makpid the whole next day for some of the restrictions(unless in a year when Tisha B’Av is actually being observed on the tenth of Av, since it fell out on Shabbos).
Ashkenazic or Sefardic Halacha?
However, this aforementioned timeline follows the general Ashkenazic minhag. On the other hand, many Sefardim start most restrictions beginning the week that Tisha B’Av falls out on, a.k.a ‘Shavua Shechal Bo.’
Although there is no mention of such in the Gemara, these restrictions are indeed binding Ashkenazic practice as instituted by many Rishonim and later codified by the great Ashkenazic authorities including the Rema, Derech Hachaim, Shevus Yaakov, Chayei Adam, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Aruch Hashulchan, and Mishnah Berurah.
While several later Sefardic authorities maintain that it is proper for Sefardim to follow the Ashkenazic minhag and start the restrictions from Rosh Chodesh Av, nevertheless, most Sefardim are only noheg the majority of the restrictions from the actual week of Tisha B’Av, as per the actual ruling of the Shulchan Aruch.
This year, Tisha B’Av falls out on a Sunday. This means that accordingly, without an actual ‘Shavua Shechal Bo Tisha B’Av,’ generally speaking, this year Sefardim will not undertake any Nine Days restrictions, save for the proscription of partaking of meat and wine. Sefardim may shower, shave, and do their laundry all the way up until Shabbos Chazon – which is Erev Tisha B’Av this year. On the other hand, Ashkenazim do not share this dispensation, and would still need to keep all the Nine Days’ restrictions.
How to Havdalah?
But now that Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Av ends, another question arises. How do we make Havdalah on this Motzai Shabbos? Indeed, the proper way to perform Havdalah on the Motzai Shabbos of the Nine Days (usually Motzai Shabbos Chazon) is one annual issue that seems to always have disparate approaches.
The main problem is that the very essence of Havdalah is ending Shabbos, resulting in the fact that it is actually recited during ‘chol,’ weekday. That is fine for an ordinary week, but this Motzai Shabbos is generally halachically part and parcel of the Nine Days.And one of the Nine Days’ restrictions prohibits drinking wine, the mainstay of Havdalah. So how are we supposed to synthesize making Havdalah while not transgressing this restriction?
Actually, this year, 5781, this dilemma is doubled, as there are two Havdalahs in question. The first Havdalah is this week, Motzai Parashas Mattos–Masei and the second, the following week, with the Taanis of Tisha B’Av commencing immediately after Shabbos’s conclusion, its Havdalah gets pushed off until Sunday night (this fascinating topic will IY”H be discussed at length in next week’s article, to help alleviate any compounded confusion).
Just Drink It!
The first approach to this quandry is the Shulchan Aruch’s. He maintains that whoever makes the Havdalah should just drink the wine himself. The Gr”a explains this position (and is later echoed by the Mishnah Berurah) that Havdalah is no worse than a Seudas Mitzva; just as at a Seudas Mitzva (such as a Bris) one may drink the wine even if it falls out during the week of Tisha B’Av, so too by Havdalah. They add that according to the Shulchan Aruch, these restrictions were never intended to negate a Mitzva. This ruling is accepted and followed by Sefardic Jewry, and this Motzai Shabbos, their psak is to drink the Havdalah wine as usual. 
The Rema’s opinion is a bit more complicated. He maintains that it is preferable to find a child and let him drink the Havdalah wine. That way, the one who actually makes the Havdalah does not have to transgress this prohibition. He concludes however, that mei’ikar hadin the Shulchan Aruch is correct, and if one cannot find a child to drink the wine, then an adult may do so.
But one detail the Rema does not mention is how old this child should be. The Magen Avraham (and clarified by the Machatzis Hashekel and Dagul Mervava ad loc.) qualifies the Rema’s ruling. He explains that the child must not be old enough to be able to mourn the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, for if a child is able to understand and properly mourn, there is no halachic advantage gained by having him drink the cup.
Additionally, the child must be ‘higia l’chinuch’, old enough to understand the need to make a bracha before drinking, for, if not, the Havdalah would end up being a ‘bracha levattala’, in vain, unless an adult drinks the wine. So basically, to fulfill the Rema’s ruling lechatchila, the child must be in the ballpark of 6 to 9 years old; otherwise, it would be preferable for an adult to drink it. This ruling is followed by most mainstream Ashkenazic authorities, including the Magen Avraham, Chayei Adam, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, and Mishnah Berurah.
Can You Beer It?
However, there is a third opinion, that of the Aruch Hashulchan. He maintains that the best solution to our concern is to make Havdalah on this Motzai Shabbos using beer instead of wine. Since beer is cited throughout the ages as a ‘Chamar Medina’, a ‘drink of the land’ on which Havdalah is permitted to be made, it would therefore be the simplest resolution to our problem.
However, many authorities remain hesitant to rely on this l’maaseh. The reason for this is that there is no clear-cut delineation of what ‘Chamar Medina’ actually is or how to properly define it, resulting in different poskim having very different understandings of its parameters.
For example, many authorities maintain that one may only rely on using ‘Chamar Medina’ if wine cannot be found anywhere in the city. Others maintain that it must be a popular drink that people would always serve at a proper meal. A different definition cited is that it must be a drink that one would serve to honor someone. Others define it as a drink that can be intoxicating, making having alcoholic content a prerequisite. Another view is that it must be a drink that has inherent importance. Others say it refers to a drink that one has ‘chavivus’, an affection for or affinity to drinking.
Although our ubiquitous beer fits many of these definitions, still the Magen Avraham and Vilna Gaon ruled that in Ashkenaz, beer has lost its status of ‘Chamar Medina’. Also, due to the whole machlokes regarding defining ‘Chamar Medina’, as well as the fact that many authorities rule that if wine is available, it trumps beer’s use for Havdalah, consequently, many poskim are hesitant about fulfilling the mitzvah of Havdalah with beer in this day and age. Additionally, based on how beer is viewed nowadays, and especially in Eretz Yisrael, several poskim, including the Chazon Ish, rule that beer would no longer be considered ‘Chamar Medina’.
Conversely, many contemporary authorities do indeed confirm beer as ‘Chamar Medina’, even nowadays, especially in America and Europe; yet, they still generally maintain wine’s superiority for Havdalah.
What To Drink?
So now that we explained that there is a three-way machlokes, what’s the bottom line?
Generally speaking, Sefardim follow the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch, and therefore the adult who makes the Havdalah should drink the wine. Most mainstream Ashkenazim follow the Rema’s psak and try to find a child in the proper age range (approx. 6 - 9). If one cannot be found, then an adult should drink the wine. Yet, surprisingly, several contemporary Ashkenazic poskim, including Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, the Chazon Ish, and Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, held that it is preferable to follow the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch and an adult should rather drink the wine than a child. Rav Moshe Feinstein is quoted as holding this way as well.
But what of the Aruch Hashulchan’s beer solution? Certainly the authorities mentioned previously who allow beer’s use for Havdalah year round would permit one to do so Motzai Shabbos in the Nine Days as well. Rav Dovid Feinstein zt”l is quoted as maintaining beer’s actual preference for Havdalah on Motzai Shabbos during the Nine Days. Indeed, this author has likewise heard from Rav Efraim Greenblatt zt”l (the renowned Rivevos Efraim) that one may make Havdalah with beer on Motzai Shabbos during the Nine Days (usually Motzai Shabbos Chazon) with no compunction.
In somewhat of a contrast, mv”r Rav Yaakov Blau zt”l told this author that although he personally held that it was preferable for an adult to drink the Havdalah wine, nonetheless, he gave dispensation to one who was accustomed to making Havdalah on beer, or one who’s minhag was to do so specifically on Motzai Shabbos Chazon, to continue doing so, even in Eretz Yisrael. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l is quoted as holding similarly.
Interestingly, it is reported that ‘Meine Altere Shuchein,’ the Bobover Rebbe zy”a, would make Havdalah on Motzai Shabbos during the Nine Dayson wine and drink it himself, but when Tisha B’Av would fall out on Motzai Shabbos(as it does this year), on that Motzai Tisha B’Av he would make that Havdalah specifically on beer.
However one ends up making Havdalah this Motzai Shabbos [make sure to discuss this with your local rabbinic advisor in advance], it is important for us all to remember that these restrictions were instituted by our Rabbanim as a public show of mourning during the most devastating time period on the timeline of the Jewish year. Our goal should be to utilize these restrictions as a catalyst for inspiration towards Teshuva.It is worthwhile to do so, as well. As the Gemara relates, everyone who observes and properly demonstrates their personal mourning over the destruction of Yerushalayim will merit seeing its rejoicing. B’Ezras Hashem, may this year be the one that Tisha B’Av is finally transformed into a full ‘Mo’ed!
This article was written L’Iluy Nishmas Shoshana Leah bas Dreiza Liba and Yisrael Leizer ben Zev, and l’zechus for Shira Yaffa bas Rochel Miriam v’chol yotzei chalatzeha for a yeshua sheleimah teikif u’miyad!
For any questions, comments or for the full Mareh Mekomos / sources, please email the author: email@example.com.
Rabbi Yehuda Spitz, author ofM’Shulchan Yehuda on Inyanei Halacha, serves as the Sho’el U’Meishiv and Rosh Chabura of the Ohr Lagolah Halacha Kollel at Yeshivas Ohr Somayach in Yerushalayim.
His first English halacha sefer, “Insights Into Halacha: Food: A Halachic Analysis,” focusing on the myriad halachos related to food, is now available in Jewish bookstores worldwide.
Click here for details and purchasing information:
 GemaraMegillah (29b-31a).
 See also Shu”t Noda B’Yehuda (Tinyana O.C. 11).
 Including the Machzor Vitry (261-262), Abudraham (Seder Parshiyos V’Haftaros), the Mordechai (Megillah, end Ch. Bnei Ha’Ir 831, end s.v. haghah), Tosafos (Megillah 31b s.v. rosh), Ran (ad loc.), and Rashba (ad loc.).
 See Machzor Vitry and Abudraham (ibid.) for two separate reasons why the Shiva D’Nechemta are in its specific order.
 Although the Pesikta, according to the Abudraham, maintains that there should be two haftaros of repentance, common minhag is that only one, Shuva Yisrael, is read on a Shabbos. The other, Dirshu Hashem Bi’Heematzo, is read on Tzom Gedalyah (by Mincha) instead. [This is especially important, as the Gemara Rosh Hashana 18a explains that this exhortation is actually referring to the Aseres Yemei Teshuva.] See Tosafos (ibid.), Tur (O.C. 428:8) and Beis Yosef (ad loc. end s.v. umashekasav).
 Beis Yosef (O.C. 425:1 s.v. umashekasav), Abudraham (ibid.).
 Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 425:1).
 Yirmiyahu (Ch. 2:4).
 See Beis Yosef (ibid.), Kaf Hachaim (ibid. 10), Maharikash (Erech Lechem ibid.), Shu”t Yechaveh Daas (vol. 4:35), Yalkut Yosef (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, O.C. 425:2), and Rav Yaakov Hillel’s Ahavat Shalom Luach (5781; Parashas Mattos-Masei). The Rambam (Hilchos Tefilla Ch. 13:19) actually implies this way as well. On the other hand, in Rav Mordechai Eliyahu’s Darchei Halacha glosses to the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (122:10), it curiously states to read “Hashamayim Kisi, as per the Shulchan Aruch in Orach Chaim 425.”
 Indeed, even the Rema, in his Darchei Moshe (O.C. 425:3) concurs with the Sefardic psak, citing precedent from the Abudraham (ibid.), Mordechai(ibid.), Maharil(Minhagim,Chilukei Haftaros), and Beis Yosef (ibid.), and not like the Terumas Hadeshen (19), and adding that in this case, although ‘Shimu’ is read, it is proper to add the first and last pesukim of “Hashamayim Kisi.” Yet, in his authoritative Hagahah on the Shulchan Aruch, he appears to change his psak, ultimately concluding that the ikar on Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Av follows the Terumas Hadeshen, who holds that since this is essentially a Machlokes Hakadmonim, and a seeming stira in Tosafos, and therefore as Shabbos Rosh Chodesh is considered Tadir (more common), then in a place where there is no set minhag, “Hashamayim Kisi” should be read. To make matters more intriguing, many later Ashkenazic authorities follow the Shulchan Aruch, and not the Rema’s conclusion, that on Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Av, “Shimu” should be read.
 To read “Shimu.” See Elyah Rabba (O.C. 549:3), Dagul Mervava (O.C. 425:1), and Shaarei Teshuva (ad loc. 1). See also Noheg K’Tzon Yosef (pg. 246).
 To read “Hashamayim Kisi.” See Levush (O.C. 549:1 s.v. Rosh Chodesh Av), Magen Avraham (425:2), Pri Megadim (ad loc. E.A. 2), Chasam Sofer (Hagahos on Shulchan Aruch ad loc. “v’chein nohagin”), and Aruch Hashulchan (ad loc. 5; “v’chein anu nohagim mipnei shekein ikar”). See also Rav Shlomo Kluger’s Sefer Hachaim (pg. 112b). Italian minhag, which only performs one kriya of Paranusa - Chazon on the Shabbos preceding Tisha B’Av, would also undoubtedly read “Hashamayim Kisi” on Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Av.
 Tosafos in Pesachim (40b s.v. aval) vs. Tosafos in Megillah (31b s.v. Rosh Chodesh), based on the Gemara (31b) that when Rosh Chodesh Av falls out on Shabbos “Chodsheichem U’Moadeichem” (Yeshaya Ch. 1:14; referring to the haftarah of “Chazon”) is read. Although the Vilna Gaon (Biur HaGr”a ibid.) maintains that there is a printing mistake in the Tosafos in Pesachim that states “Hashamayim Kisi” should be read, nonetheless several Rishonim cite this lemaaseh, including the Hagahos Maimoniyus (Hilchos Tefilla Ch. 13:2) and Terumas Hadeshen (ibid.).
 See Levush (O.C. 425:2; concluding “puk chazi mah ama davar” and in O.C. 549: end 1, “b’makom shenahagu nahagu”), Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (122:6), Kaf Hachaim (O.C. 425:16; “u’mikol makom b’makom shenahagu ain leshanos”), and Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin’s authoritative Ezras Torah Luach (5781; Parashas Mattos-Masei; after citing both shittos concludes “v’ain leshanos haminhag”). Practically, the Rema’s conclusion is that both are essentially valid shittos.
 See the Tukachinsky Luach Eretz Yisrael, Ittim L’Vinah Luach, Luach Hahalachos U’Minhagim B’Eretz Yisrael, Halichos Even Yisrael (Moadim vol. 1 pg. 352:11), and the Ezras Torah Luach (which first cites “Shimu”). Already in the Levush’s time (O.C. 549:1 s.v. Rosh Chodesh Av) “nohagin b’rov hamekomos lehaftir Shimu v’lo Hashamayim Kisi.”
 Mishnah Berurah (425:8), citing the Vilna Gaon (Biur HaGr”a ad loc. s.v. v’yeish omrim).
 Thanks are due to R’ David Roth for pointing this out.
 Due to Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Teves 5782 being on Chanuka, so Chanuka’s haftarah trumps it due to Pirsumei Nissa (Orach Chaim 684:2-3; at least lechatchilla – see Chayei Adam vol. 2, 154:41), and Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Nissan being Parashas Hachodesh which also trumps “Hashamayim Kisi,” as it is one of the Arba Parshiyos (as mentioned previously). The next Shabbos Rosh Chodesh – Elul 5782, Ashkenazim will lein “Hashamayim Kisi,” due to doubling-up another of the Shiva D’Nechemta. Sefardim, on the other hand, as mentioned previously, will not push off any of the Shiva D’Nechemta and will have to wait even longer to read “Hashamayim Kisi” – Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Iyar 5783. This was discussed at length in an article titled “The Double-Header Haftarah.” Thanks are due to Nehemiah Klein for pointing this out.
 Orach Chaim (425:2), based on Gemara Megillah (31b).
 Due to its being pushed off for Parashas Hachodesh, Shiva D’Nechemta, and Chanuka respectively (as delineated above), the three times that a Sunday Rosh Chodesh will occur over the next year. Practically, any special haftarah that can push off “Hashamayim Kisi,” would certainly also push off “Machar Chodesh,” including “Hashamayim Kisi” itself. See Rema (O.C. 425:2; citing precedence from the Maharil’s Sefer Minhagim, Chilukei Haftaros),Levush (ad loc. 3),andAruch Hashulchan (ad loc. 4 and 5).
 Rav Noach Isaac Oelbaum in his Shu”t Minchas Chein (vol. 2, O.C.23), citing the sefer Pischei Olam U’Mataamei Hashulchan (on the Shulchan Aruch ad loc.), Shulchan Atzei Shittim (on the Shulchan Aruch ad loc.), and Shulchan HaKriyah (on Hilchos Kriyas HaTorah). Thanks are due to R’ Mordechai Fast for first pointing this out to this author.
 See Mishnah in Maseches Taanis (26b) and accompanying Gemara.
 See Tur, Shulchan Aruch, Rema and their commentaries (O.C. 551).
 Although non-alcoholic, grape juice would technically nonetheless not be any more preferential a drink during the Nine Days. We refrain from meat and wine in the Nine Days as a symbol of mourning for the destructions of the Batei Hamikdash - where Korbanos were brought daily - mainly Zevachim (which was meat) and Nesachim (its wine libation).The Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 551:10) mentions that any wine, including freshlymade wine, is forbidden during the Nine Days. The Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. 66) explains that even though it is sweet and weak, and could not be used as a libation in the Bais Hamikdash, it is nonetheless forbidden because the accepted restriction does not differentiate, but rather is to refrain from all types of wine. Since this weak beverage is still considered a “wine,” we do not drink it during the Nine Days. The same would apply to our ubiquitous grape juice, which is still considered a type of wine. See Shu”t Minchas Shlomo (vol. 1:64), Shu”t Rivevos Efraim (vol. 8:177; citing many Poskim), Moadei Yeshurun (pg. 130) and Mesores Moshe (vol. 1, pg. 174 s.v. mitz) quoting Rav Moshe Feinstein, Shu”t Even Yisrael (vol. 9, He’aros on Mishnah Berurah, Hilchos Tisha B’Av pg. 110 s.v. vtz”a), Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos (vol. 2:259), Shu”t Ohr L’Tzion (vol. 3, Ch. 26:8), Rav Chaim Kanievsky’s Moadei HaGra”ch (vol. 1:317 and 318), Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky’s Kovetz Halachos (Dinei Bein HaMetzarim), Sefer Nechemas Yisrael (pg. 114:295), Halichos Even Yisrael (Moadim vol. 1, pg. 348:1), Hanhagos Rabbeinu(pg. 281:16), Netei Gavriel (Hilchos Bein HaMetzarim vol. 1, Ch. 39), Piskei Teshuvos (vol. 5:551, 42), and the Belz Dvar Yom B’Yomo Luach (5776; pg. 647). Rav Asher Weiss (the renowned Minchas Asher) has recently averred the same to this author.
 See Shulchan Aruch, Rema, and main commentaries to (O.C. 558).
 Including the Ramban (Toras Ha’Adam pg. 81, 4th column), Rashba (Shu”t vol. 1:306), Rokeach (310 s.v. mihu), Orchos Chaim (Hilchos Tisha B’Av 10), Ohr Zarua (vol. 2:414), Machzor Vitry (263), Tur (O.C. 551; citing the Yerushalmi), Kol Bo (62), and Abudraham (pg. 69b; citing Rav Hai Gaon).
 Rema (Darchei Moshe, O.C. 551:5 and Hagahah ad loc. 2 and 4), Derech Hachaim (201:1), Shu”t Shevus Yaakov (vol. 2:35), Chayei Adam (vol. 2, 133:8), Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (122:1), Aruch Hashulchan (O.C. 551:8) and Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. 18).
 See Knesses Hagedolah (O.C. 551, Hagahos on the Tur 5), Ben Ish Chai (Year 1, Parashas Devarim 12), and Kaf Hachaim (O.C. 551:44, 77, 78, and 80).
 Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 551:4), based on the Rambam (Hilchos Taaniyos Ch. 5:7). See Magen Avraham (ad loc. 17 and end 35), Pri Megadim (ad loc. E.A. 17 and 36), Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. 38 and Shaar Hatziyun ad loc. 40), Ben Ish Chai (ibid.), and Kaf Hachaim (ibid. 77 and 78). For more on this topic, see Shu”t Yabea Omer (vol. 6, O.C.46 and vol. 9, O.C. 50:1), Shu”t Yechaveh Daas (vol. 1:41 and vol. 4:36), Rav Mordechai Eliyahu’s Darchei Halacha glosses to the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (122:19), Rav Yaakov Hillel’s Ahavat Shalom Luach (Dinei Shavua Shechal Bo Tisha B’Av), and Yalkut Yosef (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, O.C. 551:1).
 Although generally speaking, even these restrictions most Sefardim do not observe on Rosh Chodesh Av itself. See Shu”t Ohr L’Tzion (vol. 3, Ch. 26:3),Shu”t Yechaveh Daas (vol. 1:41), Rav Mordechai Eliyahu’s Darchei Halacha glosses to the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (122:12), Ahavat Shalom Luach (ibid.), and Yalkut Yosef (ibid.).This was addressed in a previous article titled “Meat on Rosh Chodesh Av?”.
 This does not mean there aren’t any dispensations available for Ashkenazim. For example, more people are permitted to be invited to a fleishig Seudas Mitzva (see Rema O.C. 551:10, and Mishnah Berurah ad loc. 77; citing the Derech Hachaim 201:12). Also more permissibility regarding cutting one’s nails (see Mishnah Berurah ad loc. 20) and washing childrens’ clothing (Mishnah Berurah ad loc. 77; citing the Chayei Adam, vol. 2:133:18). Perhaps if one has a hetter to go swimming for his health “until Shavua Shechal Bo,” he would also be able to benefit from Tisha B’Av being on Sunday this year, etc.
 Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 551, 10).
 See Tur and Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 294 - 296) at length, Ohr Zarua (vol. 2, 25), Pirkei D’Rav Eliezer (Ch. 20), Mishnah Berurah (296, 8), and Kaf Hachaim (Orach Chaim 182, 1 and 14; quoting the Zohar on the importance of using wine for Havdalah).
 Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 551, 10), Biur HaGr”a (ad loc. s.v. u’mutar), Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. 67).
 See Kaf Hachaim (Orach Chaim 551, 152), Rav Mordechai Eliyahu’s Darchei Halacha Glosses to the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (122, 14), and Yalkut Yosef (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 551, Din Achilas Bassar B’Teishes HaYamim 24).
 Although non-alcoholic, grape juice would nonetheless not truly be preferential for Havdalah this Motzai Shabbos. We refrain from meat and wine in the Nine Days as a symbol of mourning for the destructions of the Batei Hamikdash - where Karbonos were brought daily - mainly Zevachim (which was meat) and Nesachim (its wine libation).The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 551, 10) mentions that any wine, including freshlymade wine, is forbidden during the Nine Days. The Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. 66) explains that even though it is sweet and weak, and could not be used as a libation in the Bais Hamikdash, it is nonetheless forbidden because the accepted restriction does not differentiate, but rather is to refrain from all types of wine. Since this weak beverage is still considered a ‘wine,’ we do not drink it during the Nine Days. The same would apply to our ubiquitous grape juice, which is still considered a type of wine. Therefore, halachically, using it for Havdalah is technically only slightly more of a solution than drinking wine. See Shu”t Minchas Shlomo (vol. 1, 64), Shu”t Rivevos Efraim (vol. 8, 177; citing many poskim), Moadei Yeshurun (pg. 130) and Mesores Moshe (vol. 1, pg. 174 s.v. mitz) quoting Rav Moshe Feinstein, Shu”t Even Yisrael (vol. 9, Haaros on Mishnah Berurah, Hilchos Tisha B’Av pg. 110 s.v. vtz”a), Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos (vol. 2, 259), Shu”t Ohr L’Tzion (vol. 3, Ch. 26, 8), Rav Chaim Kanievsky’s Moadei HaGra”ch (vol. 1, 317 and 318), Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky’s Kovetz Halachos (Dinei Bein HaMetzarim), Sefer Nechemas Yisrael (pg. 114, 295), Halichos Even Yisrael (Moadim vol. 1, pg. 348: 1 and footnote 1), Netei Gavriel (Hilchos Bein HaMetzarim vol. 1, Ch. 39), Piskei Teshuvos (vol. 5, 551, 42), and the Belz Dvar Yom B’Yomo Luach (5776; pg. 647). Rav Asher Weiss (the renowned Minchas Asher) has recently averred the same to this author.
 Rema (Orach Chaim 551, 10), based on Shu”t Maharil (15). Interestingly, the Maharil himself writes that he saw that his Rabbeim were not so makpid with this restriction. The Gr”a (ad loc. s.v. v’nohagin), and later the Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. 68), explain that regarding Havdalah there is an option to let a child drink it as opposed to a Seudas Mitzva.
 Although there are different opinions on what the age of Chinuch is for different Mitzvos, nonetheless, the Chok Yaakov (Orach Chaim 472: 27; regarding the Arba Kosos) maintains that it is 5 or 6 years old and the Mishnah Berurah (263, 1 and Shaar Hatziyun 551, 91; although some say that these two mareh mekomos are soser each other, nonetheless m’pashtus this is his kavanna for the age of Chinuch across the board) sets the age of Chinuch at 6 years old. He adds that it might even be 7 depending on how charif a child might be. Rav Yisrael Yaakov Fischer (Halichos Even Yisrael, Moadim vol. 1, Hilchos Bein HaMetzarim pg. 353, footnote 18) writes that for this inyan it is referring to ‘higia l’chinuch’ for brachos but still cannot properly mourn, which he estimates at around 6 years old. [For more on how the poskim define the age of Chinuch see sefer Chinuch Yisrael (from Rav Dovid Harfernes, author of Shu”t Nishmas Shabbos; Ch. 2, 9, ppg. 178 - 182) and Rav Dovid Shapiro’s maamar in Kovetz Moriah (Tishrei 5751, vol. 199 - 200, pg. 104 - 105).] However, defining the age of understanding how to mourn is not so simple. The Chavos Yair (Mekor Chaim ad loc.) sets this at 9 years old, while the Me’am Loez (Yalkut Me’am Loez on Parashas Devarim) sets it at 10. Rav Moshe Feinstein, regarding Aveilus writes (Shu”t Igros Moshe - Yoreh Deah vol. 1, end 224) that ‘only when children reach 7 or 8 years old is it possible to be mechanech them to Aveilus’. Rav Nissim Karelitz is reported to have said (see Rav Efraim Landy’s Aderes Eliyahu Halacha Sheet on Hilchos Chodesh Av) that if a child is learning Chumash, then one can safely assume that he is higiah l’chinuch for brachos and Mitzvas Havdalah, whereas if he understands Gemara with Tosafos, one can safely assume that he can properly mourn. There are poskim who maintain that it is preferable for an adult to drink the Havdalah wine himself, and not to rely on a child who may or may not fit the proper age range, as it is unclear. See next footnote. In a different, yet perplexing vein, it is interesting to note that the Shulchan Aruch HaRav writes in Orach Chaim 295, 4 that one who exclusively gives a child to drink of the Havdalah wine, without partaking of any himself, is not yotzai Havdalah! Aside for the fact that this would seem at odds with the Rema’s psak here, as several Acharonim point out [see Tehilla L’Dovid (Orach Chaim 295) and Rav Chaim Na’eh’s Ketzos Hashulchan (vol. 3, 97, Badei Hashulchan 6)], it also seems to contradict his own ruling in Orach Chaim 190, 4, where he allows a child to drink of any ‘Kos Shel Bracha’ with no restrictions.
 See Magen Avraham (Orach Chaim 551, 31), Machatzis Hashekel (ad loc.), Pri Megadim (ad loc. Sifsei Daas 31), Dagul Mervava (ad loc.), Chayei Adam (vol. 2, 133, 16), Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (122, 8), Mishnah Berurah (551, 70), Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin’s authoritative Ezras Torah Luach (Chodesh Av; and reprinted in his posthumously published Shu”t Gevuros Eliyahu - Orach Chaim 153 s.v. Shabbos Chazon), and Rav Yechiel Michel Tukachinsky’s essential Luach Eretz Yisroel (Chodesh Av, Parashas Devarim). The Steipler Gaon (Orchos Rabbeinu vol. 2, pg. 135, 23) and Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv (Ashrei HaIsh - Orach Chaim vol. 3, pg. 468 - 469, 34 and 35) are quoted as maintaining that if a child within that age range cannot be found, it is still preferable to allow a boy up until his Bar Mitzva to drink, before relying on an adult to drink. However, the Butchacher Gaon (Eshel Avraham - Orach Chaim 551, 10) held that once a child can properly mourn, an adult might as well drink in his stead. Rav Elyashiv stressed that this dispensation for a child is only for a boy not a girl. An adult male drinking Havdalah wine is preferable to a girl within the proper age range. [See the following commentaries to Orach Chaim 296: Rema (8), Bach (1), Magen Avraham (4 and 11), Derech Hachaim (Dinei Havdalah 3), and Mishnah Berurah (35 and Shaar Hatziyun 34).]
 Aruch Hashulchan (Orach Chaim 551, 26).
 As seen in Gemara Pesachim (107a) in the story of Ameimar regarding his using beer for Havdalah after realizing that in the locale he was in, it was ‘Chamar Medina’. See Tur and Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 292, 2) and Biur Halacha (ad loc. s.v. im). However, using Chamar Medina for Kiddush is not so simple, as the Gemara’s conclusion of its discussion of the topic is unclear, and the Rishonim therefore reach different conclusions as to its permissibility. For example, the Rambam (Hilchos Shabbos Ch. 29, 17), Maggid Mishna (ad loc.; also citing the Maharitz Giyus), Hagahos Maimoniyos (ad loc. 3; citing several other Rishonim), Rif (Pesachim 22a-b in his pagination), Ran (ad loc. s.v. ain and aval), and Mordechai (Pesachim 37b in his pagination, right column; also citing Rabbeinu Peretz), all ruled stringently that one may not use ‘Chamar Medina’ for Kiddush at all, while the Rosh (Pesachim Ch. 10, end 17), citing the R”i and the Ra’avan, as well most of the Gaonim (cited by the Ba’er Hagolah,Orach Chaim 272, os lamed), ruled permissively. Yet, the Rosh himself adds a caveat, that for the Biblically mandated Friday night Kiddush it is preferable not to use ‘Chamar Medina’, and if no wine is available to rather use bread, and only for the Shabbos Day Kiddush ‘Chamar Medina’ is preferred. Practically, the Tur and Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 272, 9) conclude with the Rosh’s assertion, that for the Rabbinic Shabbos day Kiddush one may certainly use ‘Chamar Medina’, as there is no actual change in the order or makeup of Kiddush, just a ‘shehakol’ replacing the wine’s ‘hagafen’. The Shulchan Aruch seemingly concurs, calling the Rosh’s assessment “divrei taam heim”, with the Rema (ad loc.) adding “v’chein haminhag pashut K’divrei HaRosh”, which explains why many are more inclined to be lenient with using ‘Chamar Medina’ for the Shabbos day Kiddush, but not the Friday night Kiddush.
 Rashbam (Pesachim 107a s.v. chamar medina and mahu), Rambam (Hilchos Shabbos Ch. 29, 17), Tur (Orach Chaim 272, 9), Bach (Orach Chaim 182), Magen Avraham (ad loc. 2), Levush (Orach Chaim 292, 1), Derech Hachaim (Hilchos Havdalah 5), Shulchan Aruch HaRav (Orach Chaim 272, 10), Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (45, 1 and 96, 3), Mishnah Berurah (272, 24 and 296, 8). However, see Shu”t Shevet HaLevi (vol. 3, 26 and vol. 5, 32) who is melamed zchus on those who do not follow this.
 Aruch Hashulchan (Orach Chaim 272, 14 and 296, 13). He maintains that even if wine is available, as long as beer is very popular one may make Havdalah with it. See Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos (vol. 4, 77) who implies similarly, but argues that nowadays beer would no longer fit the bill, but asserts that tea and coffee would.
 Aderes (Kuntress Over Orach), Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l (Shu”t Igros Moshe - Orach Chaim vol. 2, 75), and the Tzitz Eliezer (Shu”t vol. 8, 16). Although several contemporary poskim argue and were indeed lenient [see Shu”t Rivevos Efraim (vol. 3, end 439), quoting Rav Elya Meir Blochzt”l, Rosh Yeshivas Telz, Rav Yaakov Rudermanzt”l, Rosh Yeshivas Ner Yisrael, and Rav Yisrael Zev Gustmanzt”l, Rosh Yeshivas Netzach Yisrael, as well as Rav Chaim Pinchas Scheinbergzt”l, Rosh Yeshivas Torah Ore (cited in Ratz KaTzvi on Hilchos Shabbos 15, 7)], Rav Moshe strongly excluded soda from this category as he maintained that it is mainly drunk for thirst and not as a drink meant to honor someone. Rav Aharon Kotlerzt”l, Rav Yaakov Kamenetskyzt”l (cited in Ratz KaTzvi ibid.), Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbachzt”l (cited in Maadanei Shlomo on Moadim, Bein HaMeitzarim pg. 59), and Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l (cited in Shu”t Avnei Yashpei vol. 1, 60, pg. 105, note 3 and Ashrei HaIsh, Orach Chaim vol. 2, Ch. 7, pg. 81), are quoted as agreeing with Rav Moshe’s stringent stance on this. This author has heard b’sheim Rav Yaakov Reisman, son-in-law of Rav Mordechai Gifter zt”l, the famed Telzer Rosh Yeshiva, as well as from Rav Binyomin Sorotzkin (Rosh Kollel Ateres Shlomo and author of Nachlas Binyomin), that Rav Gifter used to make Havdalah every week using Ginger-Ale. Similarly, it is told (see Rabbi Dr. Ari Zivotofsky’s article ‘Kiddush Over Schnapps’ in the (RJJ) Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society, vol. 72, Fall 2016, pg. 35 footnote 53) that in the late 1950s, when yayin mevushal was not available, and until grape juice became prevalent, Rav Elazar Mayer Teitz of Elizabeth, NJ would make Kiddush for his shul on soda.Lechoirah even according to the mekeilim, their Kavanna was on a higher end soda that is popular but still has a chashivus, like Coca-Cola, which even in Eretz Yisrael nowadays is considered a “chashuv” drink. Ostensibly, Faygo Redpop, Super Drink, or Cristal soda would be assur to use for Havdalah l’divrei hakol.
 Shu”t Halachos Ketanos (vol. 1, 9), Maharsham (Daas Torah - Orach Chaim 296, 4), Shu”t Shem M’Shimon (Orach Chaim 14), and the Chida (Birkei Yosef - Orach Chaim 296, 3; cited in Shaarei Teshuva ad loc.) according to Rav Ovadiah Yosef’s understanding of his words. See Shu”t Yabea Omer (vol. 3, Orach Chaim 109, 19) and Shu”t Yechaveh Daas (vol. 2, 38). Rav Ovadiah adds that Rav Chaim Na’eh (Ketzos Hashulchan vol. 3, 97, Badei Hashulchan 7 and 8) and the Minchas Shabbos (on the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 96, 14) rule that one may not make Havdalah on tea or coffee, as does the Levushei Mordechai (Shu”t Mahadura Tinyana - Orach Chaim 51), and he personally concludes that one who makes Havdalah on tea or coffee has possibly made a bracha levatala. Rav Ben Tzion Abba Shaul (Shu”t Ohr L’Tzion vol. 2. Ch. 20, 19) agrees that tea and coffee are not considered ‘Chamar Medina’, as even though they are popular, one cannot get intoxicated from them. However, the Tzitz Eliezer (ibid.) argues that this was not the Chida’s intent, and concludes that b’shaas hadchak one may make Havdalah on tea or coffee, as did Rav Moshe Feinstein (Shu”t Igros Moshe - Orach Chaim vol. 2, 75). Rav Nissim Karelitz (Chut Shani on Hilchos Shabbos vol. 4, Ch. 6, 4, pg. 112 s.v. u’lmaaseh) agrees that only b’shaas hadchak may one make Havdalah on black coffee; if it is mixed with milk and / or sugar then one definitely may not. On the other hand, Rav Pesach Eliyahu Falk (Shu”t Machazeh Eliyahu vol. 1, 34) cites many issues with making Havdalah on tea or coffee, and concludes that onlyb’shaas hadchak may one do so, but exclusively on coffee or tea with milk and / or sugar, the way one normally drinks it. He adds that if someone would make Havdalah with black coffee, he would need to repeat Havdalah. A more permissive sentiment is given by Rav Moshe Sternbuch (Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos vol. 4, 77) who maintains that nowadays ‘Chamar Medina’ does not need to be intoxicating, as that is not the type of drink people commonly have at a meal. He explains that the most common ‘Chamar Medina’ nowadays is tea and coffee, and therefore one may make Havdalah using them, but only the way they are commonly drunk, with milk and sugar. He concludes that Brisker Rav was known to have made Havdalah on tea and coffee. It is also known (see Igros HaRav Chaim Ozer pg. 68) that Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzenski was makpid to make Havdalah on piping hot tea to show that it is considered ‘Chamar Medina’, but only the way it is normally drunk; i.e. hot. Rav Yisrael Yaakov Fischer (Halichos Even Yisrael, Moadim vol. 1, pg. 376, 12) was known to have made Havdalah for his wife (when she was sick and unable to fast) on Tisha B’Av HaNidcheh on black coffee that was cooled off a bit that she was able to drink a ‘Malei Lugmav’ (a cheekfull) at one time. On the other hand, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach is quoted as holding (Maadanei Shlomo on Moadim, Bein HaMeitzarim pg. 59) that although coffee and tea are me’ikar hadin considered ‘Chamar Medina’, nevertheless, practically, it is almost impossible to use either of them for Havdalah. Since they are drunk hot, how can one drink a mouthful of coffee to be yotzai Havdalah? And if one waits until it cools off, it loses its chashivus, because no one prefers to drink warm coffee and many rather relegate it to the dustbin.
 Chayei Adam (vol. 2, 8, 13) and Mishnah Berurah (296, 10; based on a diyuk from the Taz - Orach Chaim 182, 1 and Elyah Rabba ad loc. 5).
 Rema (Orach Chaim 296, 2). See Biur Halacha (ad loc. s.v. im) and Kaf Hachaim (ad loc. 26). The Matteh Efraim (624: 6) seemingly agrees with this assessment as he rules that that in a place where beer is ‘Chamar Medina’, one may make Havdalah with it on Motzai Yom Kippur ‘im hu chaviv alav’. See also Ratz KaTzvi (on Hilchos Shabbos Ch. 15, 9 and 10) who maintains that this is also the Sefer Hachinuch’s position (Parashas Yisro, Mitzva 31) as well. The Rema rules that on Motzai Pesach it is preferable to make Havdalah on beer, because then it is chaviv to him. See next footnote.
 The Rema (Orach Chaim 296, 2) rules that on Motzai Pesach it is preferable to make Havdalah on beer, because then it is chaviv to him. However, the Magen Avraham (ad loc. 6) vehemently argues, contending that in Ashkenaz - beer is not considered ‘Chamar Medina’, and concludes that it would therefore be assur to make Havdalah with it, even if no wine was available. The Gr”a, Rabbi Akiva Eiger (ad loc.), and the Shulchan Aruch HaRav (ad loc. 10; he does conclude that in ‘Medinos Eilu’ nohagin lehakel like the Rema), as well as later the Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. 12), all seem to accept the Magen Avraham’s psak that in ‘Ashkenaz’ one may not rely on the Rema’s ruling to allow Havdalah to be made with beer. [However, it is important to note that they all agree that if one is in a place where beer is positively considered ‘Chamar Medina’, then one may make Havdalah on it.] However, the Aruch Hashulchan (ad loc. 13) argues, stating that if that were true, why did the Rema add the part about Motzai Pesach, he should have just stated a rule. He therefore maintains that one may make Havdalah on beer, even if wine is available, as long as it is popular. There is an interesting epilogue to this Motzai Pesach machlokes. The Torah Temimah (Parashas Bo Ch. 12, 168 s.v. ve’ayen) writes that he heard that the Vilna Gaon used to make Havdalah on Motzai Pesach on beer, possibly to fulfill the diyuk of the Targum Yonason on that pasuk (Parashas Bo Ch. 12, verse 18; that he adds the one should eat chametz on Motzai Pesach). However, as Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo on Moadim vol. 2, Ch. 10, footnote 71) pointed out, this seems odd, as it would go against his own ruling of the preference of wine over beer; additionally, in the Maaseh Rav HaShalem (Minhagei HaGr”a, Hilchos Pesach, 185, pg. 208 - 209) it only mentions that the Vilna Gaon would make sure to taste some chametz on Motzai Pesach, not actually make Havdalah on it. Thanks are due to R’ Joel Schnur, Vilna Gaon descendent’s mechutan and enthusiast extraordinaire, and Rabbi Eliezer Brodt, author of Bein Kesseh La’Asor and Likutei Eliezer, for pointing out these sources to me.
 Including the Chazon Ish, the Steipler Gaon, and his son, Rav Chaim Kanievsky (see Kovetz Teshuvos vol. 1, 57, s.v. ode b’hanal and Orchos Rabbeinu vol. 2, pg. 136, 25; although Rav Chaim would allow beer if one needed to make Havdalah on Tisha B’Av itself), Rav Nissim Karelitz (Chut Shani on Hilchos Shabbos vol. 4, Ch. 6, 4, pg. 111 s.v. uv’chu”l; however he concludes that b’shaas hadchak and if it is impossible to get wine for Havdalah, then one may use beer), Rav Binyomin Zilber (Shu”t Az Nidberu vol. 11, 48 s.v. siman 371), the Netei Gavriel (Hilchos Bein HaMetzarim vol. 1, Ch. 39, footnote 13) and Rav Moshe Sternbuch (Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos vol. 4, 77). Rav Asher Weiss recently told this author that in his opinion, it is problematic to allow beer for Havdalah lechatchila nowadays. He explained that since there exists such a wide range of possibilities and everyone’s drinks are based on their own personal preferences, it is difficult to ascertain and label any specific drink as a ‘national drink’ and considered a true ‘Chamar Medina’.
Including Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo on Moadim vol. 2, Ch. 16, Dvar Halacha 16), Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv (Kovetz Teshuvos vol. 1, 57, 1), Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky (Emes L’Yaakov on Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 296, footnote 325 and Orach Chaim 551, footnote 525), Rav Yisrael Yaakov Fischer (cited in Kovetz Beis Yisrael, Shevat - Adar 5755 pg. 80 and Shu”t Rivevos Efraim vol. 7, 103, 2), Rav Ben Tzion Abba Shaul (Shu”t Ohr L’Tzion vol. 2, Ch. 20, 19), Rav Ovadiah Yosef (Shu”t Yechaveh Daas vol. 2, 38), Rav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg (cited in Chiddushei Basra pg. 294), the Rivevos Efraim (Shu”t vol. 3, 371; and by oral psak), the Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchasa (vol. 2, Ch. 60, 4 and footnote 14), and the Sha’arim Metzuyanim B’Halacha (96, Kuntress Acharon 3). See also Shu”t Shevet Halevi (vol. 3, 26 and vol. 5, 32) who is melamed zchus on those who make Havdalah on beer.
 Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld (Shu”t Salmas Chaim, new print 317), the Chazon Ish (Dinim V’hanhagos Ch. 19, 8), and Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo on Moadim vol. 2, Ch. 14, 27). Rav Moshe Feinstein is quoted as holding this way as well. Rav Yisrael Yaakov Fischer (Halichos Even Yisrael, Moadim vol. 1, Hilchos Bein HaMetzarim pg. 353, 16) would give the kos to a kattan to drink if present, but would not actively search for one; if none around, he would unhesitantly drink the wine himself. See Mesores Moshe (vol. 1, pg. 174 s.v. u’lgabei) who quotes Rav Moshe Feinstein as ruling that wine is preferable to beer on Motzai Shabbos Chazon, as he held that one may only use ‘Chamar Medina’ if wine is not available, and the Nine Days’ restriction on wine is not sufficient to be considered ‘wine not available’. See also Moadei Yeshurun (pg. 154 - 155, 64), who adds that Rav Moshe held that since nowadays the minhag is to make Havdalah davka with wine and not beer, the adult should drink the wine even if a child is present. This is confirmed in the recently published Mesores Moshe vol. 2 as well (365, pg. 134). Mv”r Rav Yaakov Blau zt”l and Rav Asher Weiss both told this author that in their opinions this is the preferred solution as well. As mentioned previously, the Butchacher Gaon (Eshel Avraham - Orach Chaim 551, 10) held that if there is a safek on a child’s status (whether or not he is between the proper age ranges), an adult might as well drink in his stead. The Chazon Ish (cited in Birur Halacha - Orach Chaim 551, 10) and Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo ibid.) were similarly quoted as maintaining that since it is hard to ascertain whether a child truly fits in between the Chinuch categories, the adult should rather drink the wine himself. This is also the minhag in Belz (BelzDvar Yom B’Yomo Luach, 5776; pg. 653). The Terumas Hadeshen (cited in Leket Yosher pg. 110) was also known to have drunk the Havdalah wine himself.
 Kuntress Yad Dodi (Hilchos Taanis / Bein HaMetzarim, pg. 137, Question 26).
 The author wishes to thank R’ Naftoli Tabatchnik for posing this sheilah to Rav Greenblatt shortly before he was niftar. Rav Greenblatt explained that in his opinion, certainly beer nowadays is still considered ‘Chamar Medina’, and one may therefore be noheg like the Aruch Hashulchan’s mehalech.
 See Maadanei Shlomo (on Moadim, Bein HaMitzarim, pg. 59).
 This was discussed at length in Rabbi Eliyahu Sternbuch’s maamar in Kovetz Eitz Chaim (vol. 20; Av - Elul 5773). He gives interesting hypothesis as to why the Rebbe zt”l was noheg this way.
 See Mishnah Berurah (549, 1), based on the Rambam (Hilchos Ta’anis Ch. 5, 1).
 Gemara Taanis (30b) and Bava Basra (60b).
Disclaimer: This is not a comprehensive guide, rather a brief summary to raise awareness of the issues. In any real case one should ask a competent Halachic authority.
L'iluy Nishmas the Rosh HaYeshiva - Rav Chonoh Menachem Mendel ben R' Yechezkel Shraga, Rav Yaakov Yeshaya ben R' Boruch Yehuda, and l'zchus for Shira Yaffa bas Rochel Miriam and her children for a yeshua teikef u'miyad!