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By Rabbi Doniel Neustadt | Series: | Level:

A discussion of Halachic topics related to the Parsha of the week. For final rulings, consult your Rav.


Kiddush is recited over a cup(1) of wine or grape juice which holds a revi’is (3 fl. oz.). At least a cheekful (approximately 1.6 fl. oz.) must be drunk.(2)

There is no requirement for anybody but the person who makes Kiddush to taste the wine. As long as the listener intended to fulfill the mitzvah of Kiddush and heard every word of the blessing, he fulfills the mitzvah. It is, however, desirable (a mitzvah min ha-muvchar) to partake of the Kiddush cup.(3) For this reason, many people make certain to drink some wine when attending a kiddush in shul. Doing so, however, can lead to a problematic situation regarding the correct blessing for any other beverage which will be drunk at the kiddush. Let us explain:

The blessing of borei pri ha-gafen automatically includes any beverage which is on the table or which will be brought to the table during the kiddush. No shehakol is recited on soda or juice, etc. that will be drunk during the kiddush.(4)

Even those who did not actually recite borei pri ha-gafen but heard Kiddush from another person do not recite a shehakol on other beverages. This rule applies only if one drank a melo lugmav (a cheekful) of wine or grape juice. If one drank some wine or grape juice – but less than a melo lugmav – and wishes to drink another beverage, it is questionable(5) if he needs to recite a shehakol on the other beverages. It follows, therefore, that those who listen to someone else’s Kiddush and partake of the wine and then want to drink another beverage, must do one of the following(6):

“Drink at least a cheekful;
“Recite a shehakol on a food item;
“Listen to a shehakol recited by another person.


It is a common practice to recite Kiddush Shabbos morning over a one-ounce cup of schnapps [or liqueur.(7)] Although many poskim(8) object, as Kiddush must be recited over a cup which holds at least a revi’is and at least a cheekful must be drunk, still there are poskim(9) who defend this minhag Yisrael.(10) They reason that schnapps is different from wine since it is normally consumed in much smaller quantities and is therefore subject to a different set of measurements.(11)

Those who rely on this leniency and recite Kiddush over schnapps, must also recite a borei nefashos over the schnapps, even though only a small amount was drunk. Although one does not recite a borei nefashos unless he drinks at least 3 fl. oz. of a beverage,(12) schnapps – according to this view – is an exception and requires a borei nefashos even on a much smaller amount.(13) When no wine or grape juice is available, there is a way of reciting Kiddush over schnapps which will satisfy the opinions of most poskim: Recite Kiddush on a revi’is of schnapps and drink a cheekful or a revi’is, but instead of swallowing it in one shot, sip it slowly, for a period of up to three or four minutes.(14) When even this is not possible, the next best option is to share the cheekful amount with others who are listening to the Kiddush.(15)


Kiddush must always be followed by a seudah (meal). Most poskim(16) maintain that mezonos eaten at a kiddush is considered a “seudah” for this purpose.(17) After making Kiddush, at least a k’zayis (approximately 1 ounce) of mezonos must be eaten within three to four minutes. One who failed to do so must repeat Kiddush at home before his meal. A mezonos kugel is considered full-fledged mezonos in regard to this halachah.(18) On Pesach or other times when mezonos items are not available, the preferred method is to eat the seudah immediately after reciting Kiddush. If that is difficult, one should drink an additional revi’is (3 fl. oz.) of wine or grape juice. If one has no other wine or grape juice, he can rely on the revi’is of wine he consumed for Kiddush.(19)

There are poskim(20) who maintain that even l’chatchilah, one may eat fruit or shehakol items after Kiddush is recited if there are no mezonos items available. But then, Kiddush must be repeated at home before the meal. Other poskim(21) allow this practice only under special circumstances, such as the case of a person who is weak and needs to eat and has no mezonos available. While there is no obligation to repeat Kiddush at home if the requirements for Kiddush were met earlier in shul or at the simchah hall [unless there are other people at home who did not yet hear Kiddush], it is praiseworthy to do so.(22) One who made Kiddush on schnapps should repeat Kiddush at home over wine or grape juice.(23)


1 Some poskim advise against using a disposable cup for Kiddush (Igros Moshe O.C. 3:39; Minchas Yitzchak 10:23), while others are not particular (Harav Y.S. Elyashiv, quoted in Shevus Yitzchak, Muktzeh, pg. 48; Tzitz Eliezer 12:23). See Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 47, note 51, quoting Harav S.Z. Auerbach.

2 Based on the measurements of Harav M. Feinstein. A cheekful is a little more than half a revi’is.

3 O.C. 274:14. There is a minority view (Brisker Rav quoted in Moadim u’Zemanim 3:243) that holds that on Shabbos morning one must partake of the Kiddush cup in order to fulfill the mitzvah. The poskim, however do not agree with this stringency; see Yechaveh Da’as 5:20.

4 O.C. 174:2. Note, however, that Harav Y.S. Elyashiv is quoted (Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 267) as ruling that only a borei pri ha-gafen over wine exempts all other beverages; when it is recited over grape juice it does not exempt other beverages.

5 Derech ha-Chayim rules that it is sufficient, but Beiur Halachah 174:2 questions that. See Minchas Yitzchak 8:19 and Yechaveh Da’as 5:20.

6 Beiur Halachah 174:2. [It is not sufficient to have specific intention that the blessing over the wine should only cover the wine itself and not other beverages; Harav Y.S. Elyashiv, quoted in Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 100.]

7 Minchas Yitzchak 10:22.

8 Mishnah Berurah 272:30; Aruch ha-Shulchan 272:13; Minchas Shabbos 79:29; Ketzos ha-Shulchan 89:5.

9 Ketzei ha-Mateh (Mateh Efrayim 625:99); Eishel Avraham 272:6; Maharsham 1:175; Chelkas Yaakov 1:94.

10 Because the practice was defended (in part) due to the scarcity and expense of wine, some poskim suggest that nowadays, Kiddush should be made over wine or grape juice only, see Nimukei Orchos Chayim 273.

11 This is based on the view of the Taz O.C. 210:1, which is rejected by the later poskim; see Mishnah Berurah 190:14.

12 O.C. 190:3.

13 Har Tzvi O.C. 159. It follows, therefore, that those who follow the majority view and do not recite Kiddush on schnapps, do not recite a borei nefashos when drinking an amount of schnapps less than a revi’is.

14 Mishnah Berurah 271:68. No talking should take place until the minimum amount is drunk.

15 Mishnah Berurah 272:30.

16 Mishnah Berurah 273:25.

17 A notable exception is the view of the Vilna Gaon, who maintains that Kiddush can be made only when a seudah of bread follows. His view is quoted by the Beiur Halachah 273:5 without comment. Aruch ha-Shulchan 273:8 considers this to be the preferred method. The general custom, however, follows the view of most poskim.

18 Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 54:22; Az Nidberu 8:31. See Meor ha-Shabbos, vol. 2, pgs. 576-577.

19 Mishnah Berurah 273:25, 27.

20 Igros Moshe O.C. 4:63. See also Ein Yitzchak O.C. 12 and B’tzeil ha-Chochmah 4:2; 5:115.

21 Mishnah Berurah 273:26.

22 Shalmas Chayim 1:59. See also Igros Moshe O.C. 4:63 (anaf 8) who seems to hold that Kiddush should be repeated at home before the main meal.

23 To satisfy the view of the majority of the poskim.

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Rabbi Neustadt is Rav of Young Israel in Cleveland Heights. He may be reached at 216-321-4635 or at [email protected].