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Friday Night Kiddush: How To

February 4, 2015 | by Lori Palatnik

Whether grape juice or wine, you'll want to savor the moment.

See companion article on the inspirational side of Friday Night Kiddush.

Kiddush does not have to be said in Hebrew. It is acceptable to say in English or any other language, although Hebrew is preferred, and a person should make an effort to learn the Hebrew.

From the time the sun sets (or, for a woman, once the candles are lit), until after kiddush is made, one should not eat or drink anything.

The procedure is as follows:

1. The table should be set with both challahs on the table, covered on top and below (e.g. a challah cover on top, and the challah board below).

2. You should use a special kiddush cup that holds at least 4 1/2 ounces. Fill the cup to the rim (our joy should be "full"). If you don't have a kiddush cup, any cup many be used, as long as it holds 4 1/2 ounces and is not disposable.

3. Any kosher wine or grape juice can be used.

4. The one making kiddush should have in mind to include the others in the blessings; thus kiddush is being made on their behalf. Likewise, those present should have in mind the same. It is proper to also keep in mind that, by reciting kiddush, one is fulfilling a Torah commandment.

5. There are different customs regarding whether one stands or sits while making kiddush. If you don't have a family custom, the choice is yours! Some people stand on Friday night while making kiddush because, on Friday night, we are like witnesses to the "coming in" of Shabbat. And just as witnesses in a Jewish court stand when giving testimony, so do we stand when making kiddush. (On Shabbat day there is no "coming in" to witness, so some people choose to make kiddush while seated.)

Other people sit both Friday night and Shabbat day. Just be consistent from week to week, and all those present will do a little "Simon Says" and follow your lead.

5. Those being included in kiddush should be sure to answer "Amen" after the blessing of the wine ("borei peri ha-gafen"), and after the concluding blessing that follows.

(We do not speak between the saying of a blessing and the fulfillment of the blessing. Thus each person should refrain from speaking until they taste a sip of the wine or grape juice. The person making kiddush should remind everyone of this beforehand, to avoid uncomfortable nodding and shaking of heads when someone asks a question or makes a comment.)

6. When the blessings are complete, everyone should be seated (if they weren't already). The one who led the blessings then drinks at least 2 ounces of the wine or grape juice in one or two gulps (this is no time to savor and sip). "Drinking," according to the Talmud, constitutes at least a "cheekful," or approximately two ounces. Only the person making kiddush on behalf of everyone present need do this.

The balance of the kiddush wine or grape juice is then distributed in little glasses, or cups, to all those who were included in kiddush (they need have only a taste).

To avoid germs, try this method: The person making kiddush recites all the blessings, but before drinking at the end, spills about four ounces of the liquid into another cup; then drinks from that new cup. Take the original liquid from the first cup and pour some into smaller cups to pass around. (If there isn't enough, add more wine or grape juice before pouring.)

If there are a lot of people and it would take forever to pass around kiddush, you can pre-pour some wine into everyone's glass. After the person reciting kiddush drinks some wine, then everyone can drink from his or her own glass.

Text of Friday Night Kiddush

listen to Friday Night Kiddush

print formatted text of this blessing

Part 1

(Quietly: Va-ye-hee erev, va-ye-hee voker.) Yom Ha-shishi. Va-ye-chulu hasha-mayim vi-ha-aretz vi-kole tzi-va-am. Va-yichal Elohim ba-yom hashe-vi'i milach-to asher asa. Va-yish-bose ba-yome hashe-vi'I mi-kole milach-to asher asa. Va-ye-varech Elohim es yom hashe-vi'i va-yi-kadesh oso. Kee voe shavas mi-kole milach-toe asher bara Elohim la-a-sose.

(Quietly: It was evening and it was morning.) The sixth day. So the heavens and the earth were finished, with all their complement. On the seventh day, God had completed His work which He had undertaken, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had been doing. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He ceased from all His creative work, which God had brought into being to fulfill its purpose.

Part 2

Savri maranan ve-rabanan ve-rabosai: Baruch ata Adonoy, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, borei peri ha-gafen. (Others respond: "Amen")

Blessed are You God, King of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine. (Others respond: "Amen")

Part 3

Baruch ata Adonoy, Elo-heinu melech ha-Olam, asher kidish-anu bi-mitz-vosav vi-ratza vanu, vi-Shabbos kod-sho bi-ahava uv-ratzon hin-chi-lanu, zikaron lima-aseh vi-raishis. Ki hu yom ti-chila li-mikra-ay kodesh, zay-cher li-tzi-as mitz-rayim. Ki vanu vachar-ta vi-osanu kidash-ta mikol ha-amim. Vi-shabbos kod-shicha bi-ahava uv-ratzon hinchal-tanu. Baruch ata Adonoy, mi-kadesh ha-shabbos. ("Amen")

Blessed are You God, King of the Universe, who made us holy with his commandments and favored us, and gave us His holy Shabbat, in love and favor, to be our heritage, as a reminder of the Creation. It is the foremost day of the holy festivals marking the Exodus from Egypt. For out of all the nations You chose us and made us holy, and You gave us Your holy Shabbat, in love and favor, as our heritage. Blessed are you God, Who sanctifies Shabbat. (“Amen”)

Adapted from "Friday Night and Beyond" by Lori Palatnik (Jason Aronson Pub.)


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