The Halachic Guide to Kiddush

Published Winter 2009

One of the most beautiful scenes in Yiddishkeit is the family gathered around the table for Kiddush,  a special moment for which we wait all week.  On Yom Tov, the beautiful melody1 ushers in each of the Shalosh Regalim with much excitement.

Although we are quite familiar with how to recite Kiddush, it is important to review the halachos related to this mitzvah.

A.   Obligation

In the Aseres Hadibros (Ten Commandments), we are commanded to “Remember the Shabbos day to sanctify it.”  One fulfills this Torah obligation by simply reciting Kiddush on Shabbos.2 Chazal (the Rabbis) instituted the recitation of Kiddush over a cup of wine.3  This Kiddush consists of Yom Hashishi-Vayechulu, Savri-Borai Pri Hagafen, and the brocha of Kiddush as found in the Siddur.4  Both men and women are equally obligated in this mitzvah.5

B.   The Wine and Kiddush Cup

1.   Wine
Kiddush may be recited on any kosher wine6 upon which the brocha of Borei Pri Hagafen is recited.  If one cannot drink wine, one may recite Kiddush on grape juice.7  One must be careful to purchase only wine and grape juice that have a reliable kosher certification.

2.   Kiddush Cup
The cup must hold at least a reviis (3.8 fl. oz.; 112 ml).8  It is mehudar (best)to recite Kiddush using a silver becher.9  The cup should be clean and intact without any cracks or holes.    One may also use a glass or any other non-disposable cup.  B’sha’as hadechak (in a difficult situation), if the cups listed above are not available (e.g. one is traveling), one can recite Kiddush on the wine while it is still in a bottle or in a paper, plastic or styrofoam cup.    It is best to fill the cup to the top.  However, if one does not have enough wine to fill the cup he need not fill it, provided that the cup contains a reviis of wine.

3.   Amount to Drink
Upon completing Kiddush, the one who recites it should drink a “mlo lugmav,” the amount of wine that fills one of his cheeks.  For an average adult male, this is between 1.5 and 2 fl. oz. (44-59 ml).  This amount should be drunk within a 30 second time span.10  B’dieved, one is yotzai (has fulfilled his obligation) if it is drunk within four minutes.11  Ideally, anyone being yotzai Kiddush through listening should also drink some of the wine;12 however, the listener is still yotzai without drinking any wine.

If it is too difficult for the one who recites Kiddush to drink a m’lo lugmav, someone else may drink the entire m’lo lugmav.  If this is not possible, he may share the wine with others so that they13 collectively drink 2 fl. oz. (59 ml). Either way, the mekadesh should at least drink a little of the wine.  If he cannot drink any of the wine or grape juice (e.g. he is ill), others who heard Kiddush may drink the entire 2 fl. oz.14

C.    Kiddush B’Makom seudah – Eating Immediately After Kiddush In The Same Location

One is yotzai Kiddush only if a “seudah” (meal) is eaten immediately after Kiddush in the same location.  This is known as Kiddush B’Makom seudah.

1.   Location
B’Makom seudah means eating in the same room in which Kiddush was heard.  It is acceptable if one heard Kiddush while on one side of the dining room or social hall, and then moved to the other side of the room to eat.  However, one may not leave the building to eat the meal.  For example, one is not yotzai Kiddush if he heard Kiddush in shul and then went home to eat.

If one hears Kiddush in one room, and intends15 (has da’as) to eat in a different room in the same building, he may eat in the other room.16  This may be done l’chatchilah only if he can see the other room while saying Kiddush.  If he cannot see the other room, he is only yotzai  b’dieved.

2.   Seudah

a. Ideally, the seudah consists of bread.  Typically, following Kiddush one washes and recites Hamotzi on lechem mishne (two loaves).  This constitutes Kiddush B’Makom seudah, as the seudah follows Kiddush.
b.  If one does not eat bread (e.g. at a simcha in shul after davening), one may eat a food containing chamaishis minei dagan (five special grains including wheat, oats, etc.) upon which the brocha of Mezonos is recited.17  Ideally, the food should be pas haba’a b’kisnin (e.g. cake, cookies or crackers).  However, the “seudah” may consist of other Mezonos products, such as Yerushalmi kugel or pasta salad.18  In these cases, a regular seudahs Shabbos with lechem mishne must be eaten later.
c. B’sha’as hadechak, if one is ill and cannot eat grain products for Kiddush B’Makom seudah, one can drink a revi’is of wine or grape juice19 to fulfill this condition.

3.   Amount of Food

a.  In the above cases (as addressed previously in 2a and 2b), one must eat a k’zayis.  A k’zayis is 1.27 fl. oz. (38 ml).20  It is important to note that a brocha acharona after eating cake (and/or wine) should be recited while sitting.
b.  If one does not eat a k’zayis, one has not fulfilled his obligation of Kiddush.  For example, if one heard Kiddush on Shabbos morning21 in shul and did not eat (or did not eat the prescribed amount), one is not yotzai Kiddush and he must recite it again and then eat a seudah.
c.  Although the “seudah” one eats following Kiddush (for Kiddush B’Makom seudah) can be a k’zayis of cake, it should be noted that to be yotzai the three seudos of Shabbos (Shabbos meals), one is required to eat a Hamotzi product (e.g. challah, bread or matzah); a Mezonos product does not suffice.  Ideally, at each seudah, one should eat more than two k’zaysim of bread (i.e. “yosair m’kebaya” – at least 2.7 fl. oz., 80 ml); b’dieved, a k’zayis of bread will suffice.22

D.  Shomaya K’Ona  – Hearing Kiddush Recited By Someone Else
Everyone has an obligation to recite and hear Kiddush.  One may fulfill his obligation to recite Kiddush by hearing someone else (the “mekadesh”) recite it.  This is known as “Shomaya Kona” (literally, “listening is like answering”).23  Shomaya Kona works only if all of the following conditions are met:

1.   One must hear the entire Kiddush One should not speak while listening and should not say “Baruch Hu U’Varuch Sh’mo.”  If one spoke, b’dieved, the following halachos apply:  If while speaking one failed to hear a word that is integral to Kiddush (e.g. “Boruch” or “Hashem Elokeinu” after “Boruch Atoh”), one is not yotzai Kiddush.  If one did not hear a word that is not integral (e.g. “Atoh24 or “Kee hu yom”), one need not repeat Kiddush.  The same halachos apply if the one reciting Kiddush skips, slurs or mumbles the words and the listener is unable to hear what words were said.  It is proper to answer “Amen” when being yotzai, however, if one did not do so he is still yotzai.  One should also not speak between Kiddush and drinking.  If the mekadesh (or one who is listening) spoke, he is yotzai Kiddush but must recite another Borai Pri Hagafen before drinking.25

2.   Daas Shomaya Umashmia”- It is necessary for the one reciting Kiddush to have in mind that he wishes to be motzee26 those listening.  One may have in mind specific individuals (e.g. “my family”),27 or everyone listening (e.g. when a Rav recites Kiddush for everyone present).  Furthermore, the one listening to Kiddush must have in mind to be yotzai Kiddush (fulfill the obligation by listening).

An example where one is not yotzai is the following scenario:  Someone was at a “shul Kiddush” on Shabbos morning but was not planning to eat.  When the Rav recited Kiddush, the listener did not plan to be yotzai with the Rav (i.e. he was thinking he will recite Kiddush at home).  If he later changes his mind and decides to eat, he must recite (or hear) Kiddush again.  Although he “heard” Kiddush from the Rav, he did not have in mind to be yotzai at that time.

3.   High Enough Level of Obligation – The person reciting Kiddush must have either the same or higher level of obligation (chiyuv) as the listener.28 This means that a child under Bar Mitzvah29 may not recite Kiddush for an adult, since the child is obligated only because of chinuch (teaching the child to learn how to perform mitzvos) and the adult has a direct obligation in the performance of this mitzvah.  If a husband is ill, his wife may recite Kiddush for him on Shabbos because both men and women are equally obligated to perform this mitzvah.  Similarly, a woman may be motzee a man in any mitzvah that she is equally obligated to perform (e.g. Chanukah candles, the brocha on food that she is also eating).However, she may not be motzee him in mitzvos from which she is exempt (e.g. Shofar, brocha on Sukkah), or mitzvos from which she is possibly exempt (e.g. Havdalah, Kiddush on Yom Tov).30

E.   Differences Between Kiddush on Friday Night and Shabbos Day

1.   If one does not have (or is unable to drink) wine or grape juice, the following halachos apply:

a.   Friday Night31 – One may recite Kiddush on challos.  The procedure is as follows:  Wash and recite “Al Netilas Yadayim.”  Recite the entire Kiddush on the lechem mishne, replacing the brocha of “Borai Pri Hagafen” with “Hamotzi Lechem Min Ha’aretz.”32  After Kiddush, cut and eat the challah.  If one does not have full challos, one may recite Kiddush on regular bread (even slices).
b.   Shabbos Day33Kiddush may not be recited on challos or bread.  One may recite Kiddush on a revi’is of chamar medina, ideally an alcoholic beverage including schnapps34 or beer.  If these are not available, one may use coffee or iced tea35  and must drink at least a m’lo lugmav.  The brocha of Shehakol is recited when using chamar medina.

2.   Time

a.   Friday Night  Ideally, Kiddush should be recited as soon as one comes home from shul on Friday night.36  The earliest time to recite Kiddush on Friday afternoon is Plag Hamincha,37 which is one and a quarter halachic hours38 before sunset.39  The latest time to say the entire Kiddush is dawn on Shabbos morning.  If one was unable to recite Kiddush at night, one must say Kiddush during the day.  He should daven Shachris (after sunrise or, if necessary, after dawn) and then recite Kiddush without Vayechulu (i.e. begin Kiddush with SavriBorai P’ri Hagefen).  If necessary, one may recite Kiddush (without “Vayechulu”) until sunset40 on Shabbos afternoon, and immediately eat the seudah.  If one recited the night Kiddush during the day, he does not have to recite Kiddusha Rabbah.
b.   Kiddusha Rabbah – This is Kiddush recitedduring the day (when regular Kiddush was recited at night). It may be said from any time after Shachris until sunset.  This Kiddush consists of pesukim (e.g. V’shamru, Al Kain Bayrach), Savri, and Borai Pri Hagafen. One should follow his family’s custom regarding which pesukim to say.

3.   Position – There are various customs regarding how Kiddush is recited.  One should follow his family’s custom.  The reasons for standing or sitting on Friday night are as follows:

a.     Standing – “Vayechulu” is aidus (testimony) that Hashem created the world and rested on Shabbos.  Just as witnesses stand before Bais Din when testifying, similarly some stand for this “aidus” and remain standing while reciting the entire Kiddush.
b.     Sitting – When being motzee others, everyone is joined together for that moment.  This is known as a “kviyus.”  When everyone sits together, there is a stronger sense of unity of purpose and kviyus.
c.     Some stand for Vayechulu because of aidus and then sit down for the rest of Kiddush for kviyus.

During the day, there are two customs.  Some people have a custom to stand when reciting
Kiddusha Rabbah, while others have a custom to sit.  One should follow his family custom.

4.   Eating Before Kiddush – On Friday night, once Shabbos begins,41 one may not eat or drink before Kiddush.  On Shabbos morning, men may drink water, tea or coffee before Shachris (after brochos), but may not eat and may not drink “chashuva beverages” (e.g. alcoholic beverages) unless they are required for health purposes.  After Shachris, one may not eat or drink until after Kiddush.A woman who normally davens may eat or drink before davening after reciting morning brochos.  According to some Poskim,42 on Shabbos if she needs to eat before davening, she is not required to recite Kiddush at that time.  Once she has completed davening Shachris, she must hear Kiddush before eating or drinking.

F.  Yom Tov Kiddush

Generally, the halachos of Kiddush on Yom Tov are similar to those of Shabbos.43  One follows the special nusach for Yom Tov as found in the Siddur or Machzor.  “Shehecheyanu” is said following Kiddush, with the exception of the last two nights of Pesach.44
When Yom Tov occurs on Shabbos, the Yom Tov Kiddush with “Vayechulu” and the special Shabbos additions are recited. When Yom Tov occurs on Motzai Shabbos, Kiddush and Havdalah are recited on the same cup of wine.  The acronym used to remember the order is YaKNeHaZYayin (wine) – the brocha of Borai Pri Hagafen; Kiddush – the regular nusach of Yom Tov Kiddush; NerBorei Me’orai Ha’aish;45 Havdalah– A special brocha of  Havdalah for Motzai Shabbos going into Yom Tov; Z’man– the brocha of Shehecheyanu.46  There are no b’samim.

Whenever the word “Kiddush” or “kodesh” is used, it indicates holiness and separation.  For example, the place of the “Kodesh HaKedoshim” in the Bais Hamikdash remains the holiest of sites that is set apart from all other places on earth.  When we, as Yidden, recite Kiddush every Shabbos we reflect upon the holiness of the day, as well as how the Jewish people have remained sanctified and separated from the other nations of the world.

In our modern world filled with ATMs, cell phones, instant messaging and MP3s, it is Klal Yisroel who emulates the Ribono Shel Olam when we stop all of our work for Shabbos.  The cup of Kiddush wine symbolizes our responsibility to sanctify everything around us. That is what Shabbos is all about.

1 It should be noted that the melody of Kiddush for all of the Shalosh Regalim is also the tune used elsewhere during each z’man of Yom Tov.  On Shavuos (Zman Matan Torasainu), it is also used for Akdamus.  On Simchas Torah (Zman Simchasainu), it is also used when calling up the Chosson Torah and Chosson Beraishis (“Mairshus”).  On Pesach (Zman Chairusainu), some also use this tune during the Hagaddah for “Lefeechach” and the brocha of “Asher Ga’alanu.

2 The Rambam (Hilchos Shabbos 29:1) writes that the obligation to remember Shabbos is both at the beginning and the end of Shabbos.  Technically, Havdalah is also a “Kiddush” for the end of Shabbos.

3 See Tosfos Nazir 4a, “my hee.”  Tosfos Pesachim 106a “zochrayhu” states two opinions: 1) the cup of wine is d’Rabonon;  2) the cup of wine is d’Oraysa, but the drinking of it is d’Rabonon.

4 There are slight differences between nuschaos (i.e. whether certain words are said). One should follow his family custom.

5 There is a dispute as to whether women are obligated to recite Kiddush on Yom Tov.  The custom is to follow those who rule that they are obligated.  For a full discussion, see Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasa (S.S.K.) Ch. 47 footnote 26.

6 The wine cup should also not be pogum (i.e. this wine should not have been drunk from).  For a full discussion, see S.S.K. 47:15.  There is a hiddur (best way to perform the mitzvah)  to use non-mevushal (uncooked) wine; however, mevushal wine may also be used.  When using non-mevushal wine, one must be careful that gentiles and non-observant Jews do not come into contact with the wine.  One should preferably not use wine which was left uncovered for several hours (megulah) – see Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 77:5.  Some are mehadar to recite Kiddush on red wine – see Mishna Brura (M.B.) 272:10.  See also Rama 175:2 and M.B. 175:13 regarding white wine.

7 If wine and grape juice are not available, there may be other options as will be discussed in Section E.1.

8 For a further discussion regarding halachic measurements, see the Autumn 1998 issue of Kashrus Kurrents, “Guide to Halachic Measurements,”available a by calling the Star-K office.

9 This is in fulfillment of “Hisna’eh B’mitzvos,” that we derive from the passuk of “Zeh Kaylee V’anvahu.

10 This is the shiur k’dai shtiyas revi’is (psak of HaRav Moshe Heinemann, shlita).

11 The lenient opinion for k’dai achilas pras.  See S.S.K. 48:10.

12 The ideal way to distribute Kiddush is as follows:  After the completion of Kiddush, the mekadesh pours the wine from the becher into another cup.  He then drinks a m’lo lugmav from the becher, and the wine in the other cup is distributed.  If a husband and wife are eating alone, and the wife is a niddah, the husband should either 1) put his cup down after drinking a m’lo lugmav and his wife drinks from that cup, or 2) pour wine into another cup and drink a m’lo lugmav from that cup.  His wife should then drink from the becher that he has put down.

13 Children age 6 and above can be counted in this drinking.

14 Within the time of k’dai achilas pras.  For a full discussion, see Shulchan Aruch OC 271:13 & 14 and the Mishna Brura.

15 Without da’as, one may not switch rooms.

16 See Biur Halacha 273:1 “v’chain” and S.S.K. 54:9.

17 This is very common on Shabbos day in shulL’halachah, such Mezonos products constitute “Kiddush B’Makom seudah” on Friday night, if necessary.  See S.S.K. 54:22.

18 M.B. 273:25.  Matzoh meal cake is also “B’Makom seudah.”  However, potato starch cakes and rice products, such as “Rice Krispies Treats,” can not be used for Kiddush B’Makom seudah.

19 When hearing Kiddush, drink a revi’is. When reciting Kiddush, drink 1.51 revi’is.(i.e. slightly more than a half-reviis to be yotzai Kiddush and then another reviis for b’makom “seuda”) of wine or grape juice (S.S.K. 54:23).  If one becomes ill from grain and wine products, he should eat fruits in order to have Kiddush B’Makom seudah (Shiltay Gibborim as quoted in M.B. 273:26). It is preferable that the fruit be cooked (see Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 77:16).  One should  rely on this only if it is a major sha’as hadechak.

20 About the size of a golf ball or roll of quarters.

21 Friday night in shul, one is not yotzai Kiddush recited during Maariv.  This Kiddush is an old minhag (custom) that was established when guests ate in the shul.  The custom is to give this wine to children under the age of Bar Mitzvah.  At least one child should be a “bar chinuch,” over 6 or 7 years old.

22 Men and women must have lechem mishne at the three Shabbos meals.  See Shulchan Aruch O.C. 274:1. Additional guidelines regarding seudah Shlishis are addressed in Rama O.C. 291:4.

23 Shomaya K’ona is not unique to Kiddush.  When one hears Shofar or Megillah, one is yotzai with the principle of Shomaya Kona.  For a thorough discussion of this topic, see Sefer Shaarei Shmiya by HaRav Mordechai Shuchatowitz, shlita.

24 M.B. 214:3.

25 If he said something that pertains to Kiddush (e.g. when necessary, he may say “We need little cups to give everyone Kiddush”), he need not repeat Borai Pri Hagafen.

26 This means that he recites Kiddush with the intent that others should be “yotzai.”

27 In this case, if someone recited Kiddush only for “his family”, and someone else was listening, the other listener would not be yotzai.

28 One can be motzee others, even if he has been yotzai Kiddush already.  For example, one who was yotzai at a “shul Kiddush” may recite Kiddush for his family at home, even though he was already yotzai.  For an extensive discussion, see Biur Halachah 271:1 meyad.

29 It should be noted that a bochur who recently became Bar Mitzvah should not be motzee adults in mitzvos that have a Torah obligation (e.g. Kiddush on Friday night).  It is for this reason that Bar Mitzvah boys do not lain Parshas Zachor or blow shofar on Rosh Hashana for others.  Under normal circumstances, they may be motzee adults only in mitzvos d’rabanan (regular laining, chazaras hashatz, etc.)  The reason for this is beyond the scope of this discussion.

30 Although women are accustomed to hear Havdalah after Shabbos and Yom Tov, as well as Kiddush on Yom Tov, there is a question as to the status of their obligation.  The issue relates to the parameters of mitzvos asei shehaz’man grama – positive mitzvos bound by time, a topic beyond the scope of this article. Hence, they cannot be motzee men who are definitively obligated.

31 The same halachos apply to Yom Tov night.

32 The method of holding the challos in this case is discussed in M.B. 271:41.

33 The same halachos apply to Yom Tov during the day.

34 When reciting Kiddush on schnapps, one should use a cup that holds a revi’is and drink a m’lo lugmav (as discussed above, Section B-3).  One who wishes to recite Kiddush using a shot glass (i.e. 1 fl. oz. cup) should consult his Rav.

35 See Igros Moshe O.C. 2:75 and Aruch Hashulchan O.C. 296:18.  The advantage of iced tea over hot tea is that one can easily drink a m’lo lugmav quickly enough k’dai shtiyas revi’is (see Mikrai Kodesh-Pesach 47:3).  When necessary, chamar medina may also be used for Havdalah.

36 Regarding when it is necessary to repeat Shema and count Sefiras Ha’omer before Kiddush, see S.S.K. 47:22 and 52:5.

37 When Asara B’Teves (or any private fast) occurs on Friday, one must wait until Tzais Hakochavim to recite Kiddush.  This case, and Taanis Bechorim for those who fast all day on Erev Pesach,are the only regular fasts that come to an end with the recitation of Kiddush.

38 This time is based on the length of the day when 43/48 of the time between sunrise and sunset has elapsed.  In the United States in the winter, this is often less than one clock hour before sunset; in the summer it is 1 ½ – 2 hours before sunset.

39 The night Kiddush of Yom Tov may also be said after plag hamincha, l’chatchila, only on the following Yomin Tovim:   1) the seventh night of Pesach, 2) when the last night of Pesach occurs on Shabbos and 3) when the second night of Shavuos occurs on Shabbos.  One should not recite Kiddush before Tzais Hakochavim (before it is dark and three stars are visible) on any other night of Yom Tov.

40 This should only be done b’shaas hadchak.  If one was unable to recite Kiddush until after sunset on Shabbos afternoon, one should still say it until Tzais Hakochavim without Shaim UMalchus (i.e. say Boruch Asher Kidshanu vratza banuBoruch mekadesh HaShabbos).  See M.B. 271:39.

41 Shabbos begins either because the sun has set, or because an individual has been mikabel Shabbos by lighting candles or during davening (e.g. by saying Bo’ee B’Shalom of L’cha Dodi).  A woman who is thirsty may drink water after lighting candles if it is still before sunset (S.S.K. 43:46).  Before Shabbos, one may not begin a Hamotzee meal from the 10th hour of the day (3 halachic hours before sunset) so as not to suppress one’s appetite.  One may, however, eat cake or other Mezonos. On Erev Pesach, one may not even eat Mezonos after the 10th hour.  Similarly, men may not eat Mezonos after the 10th hour on Erev Sukkos.

42 For the various details regarding this halachah, see Machze Eliyahu 33:3.

43 However, on the Seder night the seudah does not immediately follow Kiddush (due to Maggid, etc.)

44 On the second night of Rosh Hashana, one should eat a new fruit immediately after Kiddush or wear a new garment.  On the first night of Sukkos, Shehecheyanu is recited after the brocha of  “Layshev Basukkah,” and on the second night before “Layshev Basukkah.”  When the second night of Sukkos occurs on Motzai Shabbos, the longest possible Kiddush is recited.

45 One should recite Borei Meorei Ha’aish using the Yom Tov candles, putting them together side by side while upright. They should not be tilted to touch each other. Alternatively, one may recite the brochah using a non-frosted incandescent light bulb which was turned on before Shabbos (or was turned on by a timer which was set before Shabbos).

46 When the last night of Pesach occurs on Motzai Shabbos, the acronym of “YaKNeHa” would be applied as Shehecheyanu (z’man) is not said.  It should be noted that this case (i.e. when the last night of Pesach occurs on Motzai Shabbos) is the only time that Kiddush ends with “Kodesh” (Hamavdil Bain Kodesh L’Kodesh).