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By Rabbi Doniel Neustadt | Series: | Level:


Kiddush is recited over a cup[1] of wine or grape juice which holds a revi’is (3 fl. oz.). At least a “cheek full” (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 peri 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 peri 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 (“cheek full”) 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 1.6 fl. oz.;
  • Recite a shehakol on a food item;
  • Listen to a shehakol recited by another person.

    Kiddush on schnapps

    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 “cheek full” 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 at least a “cheek full”, 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 “cheek full” amount with others who are listening to the Kiddush[15].

    Kiddush b’makom seudah

    Kiddush must always be followed by a seudah (meal). Most poskim maintain that baked mezonos items[16] [including noodle-kugel[17] ] eaten at a kiddush are considered a seudah for this purpose[18]. After making Kiddush, at least a k’zayis (approx. 1 oz.) of a mezonos item should be eaten within three to four minutes. One who did not do so must repeat Kiddush at home.

    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 not practical, 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].

    Some poskim 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[20]. Other poskim allow this only under special circumstances, such as the case of a person who is weak and needs to eat and has no mezonos items available[21].

    While there is no obligation to repeat Kiddush at home if mezonos items were eaten after Kiddush [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; Rav C. Kanievksy, Ohel Chanoch, pg. 228), while others are not particular (Rav Y.S. Elyashiv, quoted in Ashrei ha-Ish, vol. 2, pg. 62; Tzitz Eliezer 12:23). See also Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 47, note 51, quoting Rav S.Z. Auerbach.

    2. Based on the measurements of Rav M. Feinstein. A “cheek full” is a little more than half a revi’is.

    3. O.C. 274:14. A minority view (Brisker Rav, quoted in Teshuvos v’Hanhagos 1:264) maintains 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 Ma’aseh Ish 5:91, quoting Chazon Ish; Ashrei ha-Ish, vol. 2, pg. 83; Yechaveh Da’as 5:20.

    4.4. O.C. 174:2. Note, however, that Rav Y.S. Elyashiv (Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 267) and Rav S. Wosner (Deror Yikra, pg. 280) are quoted as ruling that only a borei peri 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; Rav 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 explanation 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. Talking is not permitted until the minimum amount is drunk.

    15. Mishnah Berurah 272:30.

    16. Or dates; Peri Megadim 273:11.

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

    18. Mishnah Berurah 273:25. [A notable exception is the view of the Gaon of Vilna, 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.]

    19. Mishnah Berurah 273:25, 27 and Sha’ar ha-Tziyun 29.

    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 implies that Kiddush should be repeated at home before the main meal.

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

    Weekly-Halacha, Text Copyright © 2011 by Rabbi Neustadt, Dr. Jeffrey Gross and

    Rabbi Neustadt is the Yoshev Rosh of the Vaad Harabbonim of Detroit and the Av Beis Din of the Beis Din Tzedek of Detroit. He could be reached at [email protected]