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Wine Before You Dine


Shabbat enters with words of wonder poured upon rich wine, to fulfill the verse, “Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it.”

We call it kiddush, a ritual of words and drink, a magical bridge from the harried weekday to the day of rest. So enchanted we are by the kiddush that we repeat it again in a different form by day. The kiddush serves as the kickoff for the evening and daytime Shabbat meals.

The nighttime kiddush consists of three parts: 1) Three verses from Genesis that recount how G‑d rested on the seventh day and sanctified it. 2) The blessing for wine. 3) A blessing thanking G‑d for giving us the Shabbat.

A magical bridge from the harried weekday to the day of restThe daytime kiddush consists of several verses from Exodus, followed by the blessing on wine.

Kiddush how-to:

  1. On Friday night, sing the Shalom Aleichem, to welcome the Shabbat angels, and the ode to the Woman of Valor.
  2. Rinse and dry the kiddush cup. Fill it to the brim with kosher wine.
  3. Gather everyone to stand around the Shabbat table. Raise the wine-filled cup in your right hand (unless you are left-handed), and recite the kiddush aloud.
  4. On Friday night, gaze at the Shabbat candles as you say the first four words. Then look at the wine in the cup while saying the wine blessing.
  5. All in attendance answer “Amen” at the conclusion of the blessings.
  6. Drink at least 1½ ounces from the cup. Everyone else should also have a sip.

Technical details:

  • Wine is preferable, but kosher grape juice is okay.
  • Don’t eat or drink before kiddush—starting from sundown of Friday night, and after the prayers on Shabbat morning.
  • If no wine or grape juice is available, recite the kiddush on challah or bread. Just replace the wine blessing with the bread blessing—and wash hands before the kiddush.
  • Once someone has sipped from a cup of wine, the leftover wine should not be used for kiddush unless some fresh wine is added to the cup.

Click here for the kiddush texts, and here for recordings of the evening kiddush and daytime kiddush.

Illustrations by Yehuda Lang. To view more artwork by this artist, click here.
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Simcha Bart for June 20, 2016

Kiddush needs to be recited on wine or grape juice - please see here for various reasons why Kiddush is recited over the "Fruit of the Grapevine". As the article stated, if there is no wine or grape juice available, then one recites Kiddush over Challah or bread. Reply

Anonymous June 17, 2016

can we make Kiddush on anything we want. even though we have grape juice Reply

M L Ki Brockton Ma June 8, 2016

Wine Wine I recall my young years during Passover Seders my cousin and I would really make sure we had our share of wine . Wine and challah when I light Sabbath candles . My doctor recommended that I have some wine for health reasons . Reply

Joseph Vinegar August 20, 2017
in response to M L Ki:

Good for you. Reply

Shaul Wolf January 26, 2016

Re: Blessing The blessings on various foods are listed in the Talmud Berakhot 35a.
The text for Havdalah is discussed in tractate Pesachim 103b. Reply

Bill January 24, 2016

Kiddush What is the origin of the kiddush (borei p'ree hagafen)? The paragraphs on Friday night and Saturday morning, I know about. I am asking specifically about the specific blessing part that is mentioned above? Does it come from text? Is it found in the Talmud? And what about the rest of the blessings for Havdalah? Reply Staff via September 20, 2015

To Rosalie Before Yom Kippur no kiddush is made. Reply

Anonymous Illinois September 13, 2015

Sources Would also like to see references and sources for verification purposes Reply

Rosalie Linksman Florida September 10, 2015

Kiddush on Kol Nidre eve Is a kiddush over wine to be done and drunk prior to going to shule for Kol Nidre? Reply

Anonymous February 20, 2014

Thanks! These summaries are great. Thanks for doing them! Reply

Anonymous Ny April 6, 2013

Very nice! BUT.. Can you add sources to the minutes? at least to the new ones?
For example I would love to know the source to the custom of gazing on the fire while saying the first four words (I knew about gazing before starting but this is new to me). Reply

Yoel David South Daytona, Fl via January 3, 2011

Thanks Thank you so very much for the above information. Reply

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