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Kiddush (Hebrew: קידוש, literally, "sanctification") is a blessing recited over wine or grape juice to sanctify the Shabbat, Jewish holiday or a Bat or Bar Mitzvah ceremony. The Torah refers to two requirements concerning Shabbat - to "keep it" and to "remember it" (shamor and zakhor). Jewish law therefore requires that Shabbat be observed in two respects. One must "keep it" by refraining from thirty-nine forbidden activities, and one must "remember it" by making special arrangements for the day, and specifically through the kiddush ceremony.
Reciting kiddush before the meal on the eve of Shabbat and Jewish holidays is thus regarded as a commandment from the Torah (as it is explained by the Oral Torah). Reciting kiddush before the morning meal on Shabbat and holidays, however, is a requirement of rabbinic origin. Kiddush is not usually recited at the third meal on Shabbat, although Maimonides was of the opinion that wine should be drunk at this meal as well.
The term kiddush is also used to refer to a ceremonial meal served at a synagogue following the recitation of kiddush at the conclusion of services, in which refreshments are served. Traditionally, this often includes cake, crackers, and fish.
To honor the mitzvah of reciting kiddush, a silver goblet is often used, although any cup can suffice. The cup must hold a revi'it of liquid (about 76.5 milliters, although some try to use double this amount). After the person reciting the kiddush drinks from the wine, the rest of it is passed around the table or poured out into small cups for the other participants. Alternatively, wine is poured for each of the participants before kiddush.
Before reciting kiddush, the challah, which will be the next food item eaten in honor of the Shabbat or holiday, is first covered with a cloth. According to Halakha, the blessing over bread takes precedence to the blessing over wine. However, in the interests of beginning the meal with kiddush, the challah is covered to "remove" it from the table (some do not have the challah on the table at all during kiddush). Some interpret the covering of the challah allegorically, explaining that just as we go out of our way to protect an inanimate object (the bread) from being "insulted" (by the blessing over wine taking precedence), we should display the same sensitivity toward the feelings of other people.
After prayer services on the Shabbat or holiday morning, kiddush is often recited in the synagogue's social hall; see "Kiddush reception" below. Here, generally, the participants do not intend to sit down to a full meal - thus, instead, cake or other light refreshments are served. This is in accord with the opinion of the Geonim cited in the Shulchan Aruch  that although kiddush should be said only when preceding the Shabbat meal, eating mezonot such as cake or cookies or drinking an additional revi'it of wine suffice as an accompaniment. Some, by contrast, do not regard a "snack" of this this type as sufficient, and recite kiddush only when about to partake of the morning meal. 
In the absence of wine or grape juice, the Friday night kiddush may be recited over the challah; the blessing over bread is substituted for the blessing over wine. In that case, the ritual hand-washing normally performed prior to consuming the challah is done before the recitation of kiddush. Some groups, including German Jews, follow this procedure even if wine is present. If there is only sufficient wine or grape juice for one kiddush, it should be used for the Friday night kiddush.
In many synagogues, kiddush is recited on Friday night at the end of services. This kiddush does not take the place of the obligation to recite kiddush at the Friday night meal. When recited in a synagogue, the first paragraph (Genesis 2:1-3) is omitted.
The text of the Friday night kiddush begins with a passage from Genesis 2:1-3, as a testimony to God's creation of the world and cessation of work on the seventh day. Some people stand during the recital of these Biblical verses (even if they sit for kiddush), since according to Jewish law testimony must be given standing.
There are different customs regarding sitting or standing while reciting kiddush depending on communal and family tradition.
Hebrew text of Friday night kiddush
וַיְהִי עֶרֶב וַיְהִי בֹקֶר יוֹם הַשִּׁשִּׁי
וַיְכֻלּוּ הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ וְכָל צְבָאָם
וַיְכַל אֱלֹהִים בַּיוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעי מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה
וַיִשְׁבֹּת בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעי מִכָּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה
וַיְבָרֶךְ אֱלֹהִים אֶת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעי וַיְקַדֵּשׁ אֹתוֹ
כִּי בוֹ שָׁבַת מִכָּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים לַעֲשׂוֹת
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְרַָצָה בָנוּ
וְשַׁבָּת קָדְשׁוֹ בְּאַהֲבָה וּבְרָצוֹן הִנְחִילָנוּ
זִכָּרוּן לְמַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵשִׁית
כִּי הוּא יוֹם תְּחִלָּה לְמִקְרָאֵי קֹדֶשׁ
זֵכֶר לִיצִיאַת מִצְרָיִם
כִּי בָנוּ בָחַרְתְּ וְאוֹתָנוּ קְדַּשְׁתָּ מִכָּל הָעַמִּים
וְשַׁבָּת קָדְשְׁךָ בְּאַהֲבָה וּבְרָצוֹן הִנְחַלְתָּנוּ
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ מְקַדֵּשׁ הַשַׁבָּת
English translation of Friday night kiddush
[And it was evening and it was morning], the sixth day. And the heavens and the earth and all their hosts were completed. And God finished by the seventh day His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, for on it He rested from all His work which God created to function.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who creates the fruit of the vine. (Amen)
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, has desired us, and has given us, in love and good will, His holy Shabbat as a heritage, in remembrance of the work of Creation; the first of the holy festivals, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt. For You have chosen us and sanctified us from among all the nations, and with love and good will given us Your holy Shabbat as a heritage. Blessed are You, Lord, who sanctifies the Shabbat. (Amen)
Shabbat morning kiddush
Since the Shabbat morning kiddush is rabbinically rather than biblically mandated, it has a lesser status than the Friday night kiddush. In order to elevate its importance, it is euphemistically referred to as "Kiddusha Rabba"—קידושא רבא—"The Great Kiddush." There are different versions for the kiddush on Sabbath morning, and it is generally shorter than the Friday night kiddush. Originally, this kiddush consisted only of the blessing over the wine.
English translation of Shabbat morning kiddush
(And the Children of Israel shall observe the Shabbat, by establishing the Shabbat for their generations as an eternal covenant. Between Me and the Children of Israel it is an eternal sign, that [in] six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He ceased from work and rested. (Exodus 31:16-17)
(Remember the Shabbat day to sanctify it. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is Shabbat for the LORD your God; you shall not do any work — you, your son and your daughter, your manservant and your maidservant, and your cattle, and the stranger who is in your gates. For [in] six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Shabbat day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11))
Attention, gentlemen, [rabbis, and my teachers]!
Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. (Amen)
After the kiddush (as for any other blessing) those present say "amen," which means "truly." Those who say "amen" are considered to have said the kiddush by proxy.
Holiday eve kiddush
This version of kiddush is said on the festival nights of Passover, Shavuot, Sukkot, and Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah. The sections in brackets are added when the holiday coincides with Shabbat (Friday night).
English translation of holiday eve kiddush
Attention, gentlemen, [rabbis, and my teachers]! Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. (Amen)
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who chose us from all the nations, and elevated us above all tongues, and sanctified us with His commandments. And You gave us, Lord our God, with love, [Sabbaths for rest and] festivals for happiness, holidays and times for joy, this day [of Shabbat and this day of]
- (on Passover): the Festival of Matzos, the time of our freedom
- (on Shavuot): the Festival of Weeks, the time of the giving of our Torah
- (on Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah): the eighth day, the Festival of Assembly, the time of our happiness
[With love], a holy convocation, a remembrance of the Exodus from Egypt. Because You chose us, and sanctified us from all the nations, [and Shabbat] and Your holy festivals [in love and in avor] in happiness and in joy You have given us as a heritage. Blessed are You, God, Who sanctifies [the Shabbat] and Israel and the holiday seasons. (Amen)
On Sukkot, the following blessing is added immediately after kiddush when the meal takes place in a kosher sukkah:
- Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to dwell in the sukkah. (Amen)
On all the holidays, this blessing is recited after the nighttime kiddush (except on the last two nights of Passover, when it is omitted):
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has kept us alive and sustained us and brought us to this season. (Amen)
Holiday morning kiddush
When the festival coincides with Shabbat, first the Biblical verses (above, Shabbat morning kiddush) are recited, followed by two additional verses and the blessing over wine. When the holiday falls on a weekday, the morning kiddush begins with the two verses:
English translation of holiday morning kiddush
(These are the festivals of God, holy convocations, that you should announce at their appointed times (Leviticus 23:4).
(And Moses declared the festivals of the Lord to the Children of Israel (Leviticus 23:44).)
Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. (Amen)
By extension, the term "kiddush" may also refer to a reception of following Shabbat morning services at the synagogue or home. The reception will include wine and cake (or other form of mezonot), as well as, typically, soft drinks, and buffet items such as herring, kugel, salads and cholent. Often a kiddush is hosted by a family celebrating the birth of a daughter, a bar mitzvah, a wedding, an engagement, a birthday, or other happy occasion. Some people also host a kiddush on the yahrtzeit of a parent or other relative. In some synagogues the celebrant is honored with reciting the Shabbat morning kiddush on behalf of all the attendees. In other synagogues the Rabbi or gabbai recites the kiddush.
- Some Hasidic and Sephardic Jews dilute the wine with water before kiddush on Friday night to commemorate the old custom of "mixing of the wine" in the days when wine was too strong to be drunk without dilution.
- Some Jews make kiddush on Shabbat morning over liquor instead of wine. When this is done, the blessing recited is she-hakol nihyeh bid'varo instead of borei p'ri ha-gafen. The Mishnah Berurah (an authoritative Ashkenazi halakhic text) allows liquor to be substituted for wine on the grounds that it is Hamar Medina, generally interpreted to mean a drink one would serve to a respected guest. Most people consider non-wine alcoholic beverages to be Hamar Medina, but there is some disagreement on the status of soft drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages. There is also a question as to whether kiddush requires a revi'it when recited over hard liquor when the typical serving is less than a revi'it.
- ↑ Orach Chayim 273:5; see Kiddush on Shabbat Day, Rabbi Doniel Schreiber, Yeshivat Har Etzion
- ↑ Based i.a. on Moshe Feinstein, Igrot Moshe YD, vol. 2, no. 163, and ibid. OC vol. 4, no 63; see Kiddush on Shabbat Day, Rabbi Doniel Schreiber, Yeshivat Har Etzion
- ↑ Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 271:3,11
- Scherman, Rabbi Nosson (1984). The Complete ArtScroll Siddur. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, Ltd. ISBN 0-89906-650-X.