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What Are the Kiddush basics?

What Are the Kiddush basics?


“Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it” (Exodus 20:8). This verse is a Torah command to sanctify the Shabbat when it enters (Kiddush) and when it departs (Havdalah). The Sages instituted that this sanctification be accompanied by a cup of wine (or grape juice). They also instituted that Kiddush be recited over wine before beginning the daytime Shabbat meal.

The following is a basic overview of the Kiddush ceremony:

  • It is forbidden to eat or drink anything before Kiddush. This prohibition starts at sundown of Friday night, and after the Shacharit prayer of Shabbat morning.
  • If no wine is available, it is permitted to recite the Kiddush on challah (or any two loaves of bread or matzah).
  • In ancient times wine was used quite frequently as a libation for idols. Since the overwhelming majority of non-Jews were pagan, and because it is forbidden to derive any benefit from an object that was used as an offering for an idol, the rabbis forbade any wine that was handled by a non-Jew, fearing that perhaps the intention of the non-Jew was to proffer this wine as an offering to his deity.
    This rule (which applies to all wine consumption, not just Kiddush) extends to grape juice as well, but does not apply if the wine (or grape juice) was cooked (“mevushal”), since cooking renders wine unfit for libation.
    A wine that was handled by a non-Jew while the bottle was sealed is kosher even if it is not mevushal.
    Most – but not all – kosher wines available in the US are mevushal. Make sure to check the label.
  • A cup of wine from which someone has already sipped is considered “tainted” and the leftover wine may not be used for Kiddush. “Tainted” wine is remedied by pouring into it even a miniscule amount of untainted wine.
  • The Kiddush cup must be rinsed and complete; it is not respectful to use a chipped cup to sanctify the holy day of Shabbat. The cup should be filled with wine or grape juice to its brim.
  • The Kiddush cup is held in the right hand (unless one is left-handed). When starting the Kiddush it is customary to glance at the Shabbat candles, and when saying the Hagafen blessing one should glance at the wine.
  • The first passage of the Kiddush, vayechulu, must be recited while standing. The rest of Kiddush (as well as the daytime Kiddush) is recited while sitting or standing, depending on your family or community custom.
  • After finishing the Kiddush, the one who recited the Kiddush must drink at least 1.46 ounces of the wine. It is customary for all those who listened to the Kiddush to also have a sip from the wine.
  • Kiddush needs to be followed by a meal that contains bread. To learn why this is so (and what to do if you are unable to eat bread) read this article.
Rabbi Silberberg resides in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, Chaya Mushka, and their three children.
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Eliezer Zalmanov for December 30, 2014

To Baltimore Guy This custom is mentioned in several halachic sources, including Shulchan Aruch Harav, 271:3.

It is specifically during the sixth hour after halachic midday. So if midday is at exactly 12:00 p.m. at your location, then the time to observe this would be from 6:00 to 7:00, and it is adjusted accordingly.

The reason for the custom is because during that hour of the day a certain negative energy has more power and by making kiddush it gives adds to this energy. Reply

Anonymous December 8, 2017
in response to Eliezer Zalmanov:

6 regular hours or Shaah zmanit? Reply

Baltimore guy Baltimore December 29, 2014

kiddush between 6-7? What is the source of the custom not to make kiddush between 6-7 pm and how does one fulfill it? Is it based on the secular hours of 6-7 pm regardless of where one is located, or is it based on Halachic hours? And why the custom? Reply

Menachem Posner June 23, 2013

To Dovid Yes, a guest may make kiddush. Reply

Dovid Toronto June 21, 2013

...but who can make kiddush? If I am hosting Shabbos guests and want to give the honour of making Kiddush to the male guest (instead of making it myself), is the permissible? Reply

Anonymous Springfield, MO May 29, 2013

Minimum Requirement What is the requirement for the amount of wine used for kiddush? Reply

Yehuda Shurpin for April 4, 2013

Re: type of wine Blackberry wine is not made out of grapes, its blessing is shehakol and thus it cannot be used for Kiddush. Reply

david florida March 31, 2013

type of wine Can Kosher blackberry wine be used for kiddush? If so, what is the blessing? Reply Staff Providence January 20, 2013

Re Sacramental It is not necessary for the wine to be labeled as sacramental, it should have a reputable kosher certification though. Reply

Anonymous Springfield January 18, 2013

Sacramental vs. non-sacramental Is wine required to be labeled "sacramental" in order to be used for Kiddush? A friend rejected a bottle of wine because it wasn't labeled "sacramental," but I've seen the wine used in Shul and did not see it marked as such. I'm confused! Reply

Rabbi Shmary Brownstein August 22, 2012

Re: Red Wine It is not necessary to use only red wine for Kiddush. There are, however, opinions that red wine is preferred, since the verse "Do not look at wine when it is red" implies that ideal wine is red. Nevertheless, if one has white wine of a better quality, the white wine should be used (except for at the Seder, when red wine is preferred). Reply

Anonymous Hull August 10, 2012

Red Wine Why red and not white wine at Kiddush? Reply

Anonymous Oklahoma City, OK August 1, 2012

Kiddush cup Is there a particular material that is best for the Kiddush cup to be made? Is it more preferable to have a silver cup rather than a wooden or glass goblet/cup? Thank you for your help! Reply

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