קדש
Recite the Kiddush

QUESTION: The traditional announcement for “Kadeish” is “When the father comes home from shul, he should make Kiddush straight away so that the children will not fall asleep, and ask the Mah Nishtanah?”

Why such an elaborate statement?

ANSWER: In the city of Shpola, the melamed — teacher — felt that this declaration was too lengthy and taught his students to simply announce, “Now it is time to make Kiddush.” When the Shpola Zeida heard of this, he called the melamed and admonished him. “What right do you have to change the traditional declaration? Everything connected with the Seder has a deep mystical meaning. It is known,” the Shpola Zeida continued, “that Hashem himself also fulfills all the mitzvot that He commands” (Midrash Rabbah Shemot 30:9).

Hence, in reality we are saying to our Father in heaven, Hashem, “When you, Father, come home from shul, you must quickly make Kiddush” i.e. renew Your kiddushin — betrothal — of the Jewish people and redeem us from our exile. Lest the children not fall asleep in the exile and despair of ever being redeemed. He must act quickly so that they will ask the Mah Nishtanah — “Why is the long dread night of this exile being prolonged more than all the dark exiles which we have already endured?”

(סיפורי חסידים)

* * *

QUESTION: Kiddush is recited every Shabbat and Yom Tov. What is unique about the Kiddush of the Seder?

ANSWER: 1) This Kiddush must be made over wine; it cannot be on matzah as on other Shabbatot and Yamim Tovim.

2) Everyone is obligated to drink a cup of wine; one cannot rely on the drinking of the one who recited the Kiddush.

3) On Pesach, Kiddush must be made after nightfall.

(הגש"פ עם לקוטי טעמים ומנהגים)


"ויברך אלקים את יום השביעי"
“And G‑d blessed the seventh day.”

QUESTION: What special blessing did Shabbat receive?

ANSWER: Shabbat is a day when it is forbidden to work, yet one spends more money for Shabbat than for any other day of the week. A person may think that celebrating Shabbat properly will run him into poverty. Hashem, however, gave a special blessing to the Shabbat day: the more one spends for the sake of Shabbat, the more he will earn during the week.

The Gemara (Beitzah 16a) says that the money a person will have for his expenses throughout the entire year is decided upon on Rosh Hashanah. Exempted from this are his expenses for Shabbat and Yom Tov. If a person spends freely for Shabbat and Yom Tov, Hashem will provide him with additional sources of income to cover his expenditures.

(ברית שלום)


"חג המצות הזה"
“This Festival of matzot.

QUESTION: In the Torah (Shemot 23:15), this Yom Tov is called Chag Hamatzot. Why do we call it Pesach”?

ANSWER: The word Pesach” refers to what Hashem did for the Jewish people: He skipped over our houses when He plagued the Egyptians. Matzah shows the praise-worthiness of the Jewish people. Thanks to their absolute faith in Hashem, they left Egypt in a hurry without waiting for the dough to rise, and they were satisfied with simple matzot.

Thus, in the Torah, Hashem refers to the Yom Tov as Chag Hamatzot” to emphasize His praise of the Jewish people. We call the Yom Tov “Pesach” to accentuate our praise of Hashem for saving our lives and redeeming us from Egypt.

(קדושת לוי)


"המבדיל בין קדש לחול"
“Who made a distinction between sacred and profane.”

QUESTION: In the Gemara (Pesachim 113a) Rabbi Yochanan says that there are three who are among those who will inherit the World to Come. One of them is one who recites Havdalah over a cup of wine at the end of Shabbat. The Gemara explains that this means he leaves over wine [in his cup] from Kiddush for Havdalah. (See Shulchan Aruch Harav 271:22.)

Why is this rewarded so greatly?

ANSWER: In addition to the literal meaning, this can be explained as an allegory. Kiddush introduces the holiness of Shabbat, when one leaves his daily mundane activities and ascends into a day of spiritual exaltation. Havdalah, on the other hand, brings one back to mundane, day-to-day life. Thus, Kiddush is a synonym for moments of spiritual elevation, and Havdalah for ordinary day-to-day activities. Hence, the Sages are telling us that one who brings some of the spirit of holiness into his daily mundane activities will live so as to earn Olam Haba — the World to Come.

(הדרש והעיון - בראשית)