Laws of Kiddush Part 1

  • Rav Doniel Schreiber



By Rav Doniel Schreiber



This shiur is dedicated in memory of Israel Koschitzky zt"l,
whose yahrzeit falls on the 19th of Kislev.
May the world-wide dissemination of Torah through the VBM
be a fitting tribute to a man whose lifetime achievements
exemplified the love of Eretz Yisrael and Torat Yisrael.



Shiur #07: Laws of Kiddush - part 1



1.  Source


            There is a Torah obligation to recite kiddush at the onset of Shabbat.  The gemara (Pesachim 106a) mentions that this is derived from the pasuk "Remember the Shabbat to sanctify it" (Shemot 20:8).  Most Rishonim understand this to mean that one must distinguish and elevate Shabbat from the other days of the week through words of praise and sanctity.  That is, the actual recitation of kiddush is the Torah obligation.  Accordingly, these Rishonim understand that kiddush on a cup of wine, prior to the Shabbat evening meal, is a rabbinic institution designed to enhance the biblical mitzva of the recitation of kiddush (Tosafot Sukka 38a s.v. Mai and Nazir 4a s.v. Mai, Rambam Laws of Shabbat 29:1, 6 and MB 271:2; see also Sefer Ha-chinukh, mitzva 31).


            Some Rishonim believe, however, that kiddush over wine is a Torah obligation - not merely a rabbinic institution (Rashi Berakhot 20b, s.v. Kiddush ha-yom; see Tosafot Pesachim 106a s.v. Zokhreihu and Shevu'ot 20b s.v. Nashim who equivocate between these two opinions).  According to Arukh Ha-shulchan (OC 271:2), this opinion in fact rules that kiddush over wine or bread is a Torah obligation.  However, the Ra'avan (cited ibid.) understands that only kiddush over wine is a Torah obligation.


            Yet further, it is possible to infer from Rashi (Nazir 4a, s.v. Ela ki ha) that drinking the wine of kiddush on Friday night is a Torah obligation (SSK vol. 2, 47:5, end of note 24).


            There is a rabbinic obligation to recite kiddush on Shabbat day (Pesachim 106a).  We will discuss this rabbinic kiddush in "Laws of Kiddush - Part 2."


            Some have a custom to recite kiddush a third time at seuda shlishit (the third meal of Shabbat) (OC 291:4, MB 291:18, Tur OC 291, and Beit Yosef ibid. in the name of the Rambam).  Even though this is not obligatory, it is proper to enhance the third meal by blessing and drinking wine even in the middle of the seuda (MB 291:21).


2.  Are Women Obligated to Recite Kiddush?


            The gemara derives from the inter-changing of the words "zakhor" (remember) and "shamor" (keep) in the two accounts of the Ten Commandments (Shemot 20:1-14 and Devarim 5:5-18) that "whoever is obligated to 'keep' Shabbat (i.e., refrain from prohibited work), is similarly obligated to 'remember' Shabbat (i.e. perform the positive commandments of Shabbat)" (Berakhot 20b and Shevu'ot 20b).  Despite women's general exemption from other time-bound positive mitzvot (Mishna Kiddushin 29a), since women are obligated to "keep" Shabbat they must also "remember" Shabbat; they are, therefore, obligated in both kiddush Friday evening (MB 271:3) and Shabbat day (MB 289:6; see, however, Maharam Chalava, Pesachim 106a, s.v. Be-yom mai, who rules that women are exempt from kiddush on Shabbat day).


            There is a general principle that one can motzi (exempt) someone else only if one is equally obligated in the mitzva.  Therefore, since women have an equal obligation to recite kiddush, women can even motzi men (OC 271:2 and MB 271:4; see however Maharshal and Bach who rule that a woman cannot exempt men in kiddush).  A woman can exempt a man even after she has fulfilled mitzvat kiddush (R. Akiva Eiger, responsum no. 7, and MB 271:5; see however Dagul Mei-Revava OC 271 who rules to the contrary).


            In practice, however, it is generally considered inappropriate for a woman to exempt a man who is not a member of her family (MB 271:4).  Moreover, even reciting kiddush for her husband is discouraged (see Berakhot 20b).  We will discuss the laws of exempting other people in the next shiur "Laws of Kiddush - Part 2."


3.  The Time for Reciting Kiddush


            Kiddush is said Friday night after ma'ariv (OC 271:1) even if one recites ma'ariv immediately after pelag ha-mincha (Bi'ur Halakha ibid. s.v. Mi-yad).  Poskim dispute whether one must recite kiddush as soon as possible, directly after returning from shul, or whether one may wait until he is hungry (OC ibid., MB 271:1, Bi'ur Halakha ibid. s.v. Mi-yad).  Once one has accepted Shabbat, and this is true even for "early Shabbat," it is forbidden to eat or drink until one has fulfilled the mitzva of kiddush (OC 271:4 and MB 271:11).  For example, women who have lit Shabbat candles, thereby accepting Shabbat (OC 263:10), cannot eat or drink until they fulfill mitzvat kiddush.


4.  Recitation of Friday Night Kiddush


            The prevalent custom is to first fulfill the mitzva of kiddush and then wash our hands (netilat yadayim) in preparation for the next mitzva: lechem mishneh (the two loaves - these laws will be discussed in a later shiur) (OC 271:12 in Rema, and MB 271:62).  Others have the custom that everyone, except the person reciting the kiddush, washes their hands prior to kiddush.  A third custom dictates that the person reciting the kiddush washes his hands as well prior to reciting kiddush (OC ibid. and MB 271:58).


            The text of Friday night kiddush consists of three sections: "Va-yekhulu ha-shamayim" (Bereishit 2:1-3), the blessing over wine, and the blessing of sanctifying Shabbat.  Prior to reciting "Va-yekhulu" it is customary to say part of its preceding pasuk "va-yehi erev va-yehi voker" (Bereishit 1:31) in an undertone, and then continue out loud, "yom ha-shishi, va-yekhulu ha-shamayim...."  The reason for adding "yom ha-shishi" to "va-yekhulu ha-shamayim" is to form an acrostic that spells out God's name.  However, it is insufficient to just add "yom ha-shishi" (the sixth day), as the new phrase makes no sense out of context.  Therefore, we add "va-yehi erev..." and it now means: "It was evening and it was morning, the sixth day."  (See Rema 271:10, Levush ibid., and Arukh Ha-shulchan 271:25.) Some add all of pasuk 31, for otherwise one is dividing the pasuk. It is forbidden to divide any pasuk that Moshe Rabeinu did not divide (Megilla 22a, and Chatam Sofer, OC Responsum 10).  Those who permit this division say that one does this in order to add words of praise as an introduction, not to reformat the Chumash (see Arukh Ha-shulchan 289:3).  [See also SSK vol. 2, 47:30, notes 147-149.]


            One who has not said or heard the section of "va-yekhulu" has, nevertheless, fulfilled the mitzva of kiddush (MB 271:45).  According to most poskim, one has fulfilled the mitzva even if he has inadvertently omitted saying or hearing the blessing over the wine has been (Igrot Moshe vol. 3, no. 45 in the name of Shulchan Arukh Ha-rav, and this is implied in OC 271:4; see however Kuntrus Acharon on Shulchan Arukh Ha-rav 272:2 who rules to the contrary; see also SSK vol. 2, 47:40, and notes ibid.).  However, if one did not say or hear the last section of kiddush - the blessing of sanctification - then one has not fulfilled the mitzva of kiddush (SSK vol. 2, 47:40).


5. Kiddush-Related Customs on Friday Night


            Some people have the custom to stand just for the first four words of kiddush: "yom ha-shishi va-yekhulu ha-shamayim" (as it forms an acrostic of God's name).  Others stand from "yom ha-shishi" until the end of the first paragraph and then sit from borei pri ha-gafen and on.  Others stand for the entire kiddush.  (See OC 271:10, and Kaf Ha-chaim 271:2.)  Those who stand for kiddush still must sit when they drink the wine (MB 296:6, Kaf Ha-chaim 271:62,64, and SSK vol. 2, 47:28, note 139).


            When reciting kiddush, one should hold the cup in his right hand if he is right-handed and in the left if he is left-handed.  The cup should be lifted a tefach (3 1/2 inches) from the table.  If one does not hold the cup at all, he still fulfills kiddush as long as the cup was on the table.  (See OC 271:10 and 183:4,5 and MB ibid. note 20.)


            Having a meal present at the time of kiddush demonstrates the importance of Shabbat, thereby glorifying it.  Consequently, the challot (lechem mishneh) should be placed on the table before kiddush (Arukh Ha-shulchan 271:22; see also She'iltot cited in Tosefot and Rashbam Pesachim 100b).


            Another custom at the Shabbat table is to cover the challot.  There are three reasons for this:


            1. To commemorate the double portion of manna which fell every erev Shabbat in the desert and was covered on top and bottom with a protective layer of dew;

            2. to designate and elevate the meal for the glory of Shabbat (She'iltot cited in Tosafot and Rashbam Pesachim 100b, and Teshuvat R. Moshe Feinstein zt"l in Radiance of Shabbat by R. Simcha Bunim Cohen, p. 182); and

            3. because of the hierarchy of berakhot, it is improper to recite a blessing on wine before saying one on bread (OC 271:9, and MB ibid. note 41).


            The practical difference between these reasons is in deciding when one can first remove the challa cover: after kiddush (3) or only after ha-motzi (1, 2) (MB ibid.).  Another practical difference is if one is required to cover all items on the table which require a mezonot blessing, such as pastries and crackers.  If we cover bread to maintain the integrity of the order of blessings (3) then we should cover mezonot on the table as well.  (SSK [vol. 2, 47:25] rules that one should cover mezonot prior to kiddush.)


            Regardless, poskim rule that all other challot on the table have to be covered if they belong to people who are fulfilling their obligation through the person reciting kiddush (Responsa of R. Moshe Feinstein zt"l, in Radiance of Shabbat, p. 182, and SSK, vol. 2, 47:25, note 125).  According to R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l, if one fulfills the obligation of kiddush by listening to someone else's blessing, but does not plan on drinking the wine, that person is only required to cover the bread, not the mezonot. In this case, none of the reasons for covering challot apply to mezonot.  (See SSK, vol. 2, 47:25, notes 123-125.)


            One is permitted to say kiddush over the lechem mishneh, if it is impossible to recite kiddush over wine.  This is done by first washing hands, then, while placing hands on the challot, one recites "va-yekhulu."  In the usual place of the blessing on the wine, at the completion of "va-yekhulu," remove the challa cover, raise the challot and recite the blessing of "ha-motzi."  At this point, recover the challot, say the last berakha, and then eat a kezayit (an olive size worth of bread; this is 1.1 fl. oz. or 30 grams, according to R. Moshe Feinstein zt"l in his sefer Mi-beit Midrash le-Torah ve-Hora'a).  (See MB 271:41.)


6. The Kiddush Cup


            The kiddush cup (including the rim and base) should be whole, without any fissures or cracks, and it should be clean.  If such a cup is not available, one may use any cup as long as it holds a revi'it (OC 271:1, OC 183:3, and MB and Sha'ar Ha-tziyun ibid.). [There are several opinions on how large a revi'it is.  According to R. Chaim Na'ah zt"l (in his Kuntrus Ha-shiurim) it is 3.2 fl. ounces.  Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l rules that it is 4.42 fl. ounces (Radiance of Shabbat, p. 44); and the Chazon Ish rules that it is 5.3 fl. ounces (Chazon Ish OC no. 39, Kuntrus Ha-shiurim).]  If there is a leak in the cup below the revi'it level, the cup is invalid (Sha'ar Ha-tziyun ibid. note 14).


            Ideally, disposable cups should not be used, but if no other cups are available then they are acceptable (Radiance of Shabbat, p. 43, note 5, in the name of R. Yosef Eliyahu Henkin zt"l who is inclined to allow it and R. Moshe Feinstein zt"l in Igrot Moshe OC, vol. 3, no. 39 who is more hesitant; see also SSK vol. 2, 47:11, note 51 who cites R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l who is lenient, and the Tzitz Eliezer vol. 12, no. 23 who permits it even initially).  If one does not have a cup valid for kiddush, according to R. Moshe Feinstein zt"l, one may use a wine bottle for kiddush as long as it contains a revi'it (Radiance of Shabbat, p. 43, note 3; see also SSK vol. 2, 47:10,11, and notes 48 and 52).


            One should fill the cup to the brim.  If there is not enough wine to do this, a little water or ice cubes can be added to raise the level of the wine in the cup.  One who does not do this still fulfills the obligation as long as there is a revi'it in the cup (OC 183:2, MB ibid. and 182:32). 


            One should pour the wine into the cup with the intention that the wine should be for the purpose of mitzvat kiddush.  This should be done directly before kiddush (OC 183:2 in Rema, and MB ibid.).


7.  The Wine


            Ideally, Friday night kiddush should be recited over wine. It is best to use red uncooked wines. One may use, however, white wine and cooked wines (OC 272:3,8, and MB 272:10), as well as grape juice (Radiance of Shabbat, p. 45, note 12 in the name of R. Moshe Feinstein zt"l and R. Yosef Eliyahu Henkin zt"l).


            Stam yeinam, which is wine processed or even possibly touched by a non-Jew or a public desecrator of Shabbat, is forbidden to be benefited from, and thus is obviously inappropriate for kiddush (YD 123:3, and Shakh 123:7). Poskim dispute whether one has fulfilled one's obligation if such wine was in fact used for kiddush (Radiance of Shabbat, p. 47, note 21).


            If the wine was processed by a Jew, and the bottle was sealed, there is no concern of stam yeinam.  There is also no concern of stam yeinam if the wine was cooked (YD ibid.).  According to R. Moshe Feinstein zt"l, pasteurization is sufficient to remove the concern of stam yeinam since, according to him, wine is "cooked" if heated to 175 F (Igrot Moshe YD vol. 2, no. 52, and vol. 3, no. 31.  Other poskim say that wine is not considered cooked until it reaches 212 Fahrenheit (Radiance of Shabbat, p. 45; see also SSK vol. 2, 47:19, note 95 regarding higher temperatures than pasteurization to remove the concern for stam yeinam).  Therefore, some have the custom to specifically use cooked or pasteurized wine for kiddush to avoid the concern of stam yeinam (SSK vol. 2, 47:19, and OC 272:8 in Rema, and MB 272:23). 


            Wine that has been drunk from is considered yayin pagum (flawed wine) and should not be used for kiddush, except in pressing circumstances.  However, removing wine with one's hands or pouring out wine does not render the wine pagum.  One can rectify pagum wine by performing the following two steps: first, add non-pagum liquid, either wine or water, to the pagum wine; then pour this mixture into a bottle that has more wine in it than the pagum wine.  If only one of these steps was performed the wine is valid, after the fact (be-dieved) (see OC 271:10, OC 182:3,5,6,7, and MB ibid.).


            Next week we will continue to study the laws of kiddush.