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By Rabbi Doniel Neustadt | Series: | Level:

It is customary in some circles to recite Kiddush Shabbos morning [at a shul kiddush or simchah) over a one-ounce cup of schnapps [or liqueur. 1 ] Although most poskim object to this custom, as Kiddush must be recited over a cup which holds at least a revi’is and at least a “cheek full” must be drunk, 2 still there are some poskim3 who defend this minhag for those who are accustomed to do so. 4 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. 5 It follows, therefore, that those who rely on this leniency and recite Kiddush over schnapps should also recite 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, 6 schnapps—according to this view—is an exception and requires a borei nefashos even on a much smaller amount. 7 Still one should avoid this situation and not recite a borei nefashos unless he drinks a revi’is of some other beverage or a k’zayis of another food. When no wine or grape juice is available, there is a way of reciting Kiddush over schnapps which will satisfy the opinions of many 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. 8 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. 9


Kiddush must always be immediately followed by a seudah (meal). Most poskim maintain that baked mezonos items [including all types of Yerushalmi and noodle-kugels10 ] eaten after Kiddush are considered a seudah for this purpose. 11 After making Kiddush, at least a k’zayis (approx. 1 oz.) of a baked mezonos item should be eaten within three to four minutes. 12 One who heard Kiddush but did not follow it with a seudah, must repeat Kiddush at home before eating his meal. 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. 13 Although some poskim maintain that one may fulfill his seudah obligation by eating fruit14 or shehakol items15 after Kiddush is recited [if there are no mezonos items available], 16 the basic halachah follows the poskim that permit this only under special circumstances, such as the case of a person who is weak and needs to eat and has no baked or cooked mezonos items available. 17 One who relied on this opinion, must repeat Kiddush at home before the meal.

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, 18 all the more so for one who made Kiddush on less than a reviis of schnapps. 19


Question: Is it permitted to recite Kiddush over wine that was left uncovered overnight?

Discussion: In ancient times, poisonous snakes and reptiles were commonly found even in populated areas. In keeping with the Torah’s strict exhortation to safeguard one’s life, 20 the Rabbis issued an edict forbidding drinking from any uncovered vessel which had been left unsupervised, for fear that a poisonous snake might have ejected venom into its contents while drinking from it. 21

This prohibition, known as mashkim megulim, “uncovered beverages,” is recorded in the Talmud22 and codified by the Rambam as practical halachah. But the Shulchan Aruch, who starts by quoting the Rambam, concludes by ruling that this edict no longer applies. 23 Since poisonous snakes and reptiles are rarely found in populated areas nowadays, there is no longer any reason to forbid drinking an uncovered, unsupervised beverage. The basic halachah follows this opinion, and one is no longer required to concern himself with this prohibition. 24

[Note that some poskim maintain that mashkim megulim apply even in contemporary times. They argue that poisonous snakes and reptiles do still exist in some remote areas. 25 Others argue that a rabbinic prohibition cannot be repealed even when the stated rationale no longer applies. 26 While the basic halachah does not follow this opinion and uncovered drinks may be consumed, there are many people who choose to observe these halachos strictly, based on several sources who recommend avoiding mashkim megulim, 27 especially in Eretz Yisrael. 28 ]

But even those who are generally lenient with mashkim megulim are careful not to use such wine for Kiddush29 or for other ritual purposes which require wine, such as Havdalah and Birkas ha-mazon, 30 since it is considered “demeaning” to use mashkim megulim for mitzvos. 31 L’chatchilah, therefore, several poskim recommend that wine which was left uncovered and unsupervised for even a brief period—even as little as a few minutes—should not be used for mitzvos. 32 If, however, no other wine is available, one may use such wine as long as its taste and smell were not compromised in any way. 33 If the wine was left uncovered for five or six hours, 34 and surely if it was left uncovered over night, we are concerned that its taste or smell was affected and it may not be used for Kiddush etc., even b’diavad. 35

1.Minchas Yitzchak 10:22.

2.Mishnah Berurah 272:30; Aruch ha-Shulchan 272:13; Minchas Shabbos 79:29; Ketzos ha-Shulchan 89:5.
3.Ketzei ha-Mateh (Mateh Efrayim 625:99); Eishel Avraham 272:6; Maharsham 1:175; Chelkas Yaakov 1:94.
4.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. See also Piskei Teshuvos 289:11.
5.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.
6.O.C. 190:3.
7.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.
8.Mishnah Berurah 271:68. Talking is not permitted until the minimum amount is drunk.
9.Mishnah Berurah 272:30. See Eishel Avraham 272:6.
10.Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 54:22; Az Nidberu 8:31. See Meor ha-Shabbos, vol. 2, pgs. 576-577.
11.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, s.v. kasvu, without comment. Aruch ha-Shulchan 273:8 considers this to be the preferred method. See also Rav Akiva Eiger 273:5 quoting Rabbeinu Yonah and Peri Megadim 271:3. The widespread custom, however, follows the view of most poskim; see Beiur Halachah 249:2, s.v. mutar.]
12.Some poskim permit eating cooked mezonos items, such as a barley cholent, as well; Magen Avraham, as explained by Igros Moshe, O.C. 2:26.
13.Mishnah Berurah 273:25, 27 and Sha’ar ha-Tziyun 29; Aruch ha-Shulchan 272:9.
14.Especially dates; Peri Megadim 273:11. See, however, Kaf ha-Chayim 273:42.
15.Preferably cooked; see Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 77:16.
16.Igros Moshe, O.C. 4:63. See also Ein Yitzchak, O.C. 12 and B’tzeil ha-Chochmah 4:2; 5:115.
17.Mishnah Berurah 273:26.
18.Shalmas Chayim 1:59; B’tzeil ha-Chachmah 4:147. See also Igros Moshe, O.C. 4:63 (anaf 8).
19.To satisfy the view of the majority of the poskim mentioned earlier.
20.Devarim 4:9, 4:15, as explained in Berachos 32b. See Beiur ha-Gra, C.M. 427:8.
21.Although this is a Rabbinic prohibition (Levush, C.M. 427:1), some poskim maintain that once the Rabbis pointed out that mashkim megulim may be dangerous, drinking from them becomes forbidden min ha-Torah; see Levush, C.M. 427:11, Tevuos Shor 13:2, Chasam Sofer, Avodah Zarah 30a and Aruch ha-Shulchan, C.M. 427:8.
22.Avodah Zarah 30a and Chullin 9b. The original source is the Mishnah (Terumos 8:4).
23.Y.D. 116:1, based on the view of Tosafos, Rashba and Tur.
24.Mishnah Berurah 160:23.
25.Pri Chadash and Pri To’ar, quoted by Birkei Yosef and Aruch ha-Shulchan, Y.D. 116:1.
26.The Vilna Gaon (quoted in Ma’asei Rav 95 and in Pe’as ha-Shulchan 2:32).
27.See Pischei Teshuvah, Y.D. 116:1; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 33:5; Orchos Rabbeinu, vol. 1, pgs. 206-209.
28.Birkei Yosef, Y.D. 116:3 and Pe’as ha-Shulchan 2:32. See Minchas Yitzchak 9:85.
29.O.C. 272:1.
30..Birkei Yosef, O.C. 272:1; Beiur Halachah 272:1 (s.v. al); Aruch ha-Shulchan 272:5.
31.There are several explanations as to why, exactly, it is considered demeaning; see Magen Avraham 272:2; Toras Chayim, Bava Basra 97a; Divrei Malkiel 4:1; Sfas Emes, Succah 50a.
32.Bigdei Yesha 272:1, quoting Tosafos Shabbos. See Koveitz Teshuvos 3:45. According to this view, wine and grape juice bottles should not be left uncovered for even a short amount of time.
33.Mishnah Berurah 272:3; Kaf ha-Chayim 272:7. See Az Nidberu 1:7.
34.Divrei Malkiel 4:1.
35.Aruch ha-Shulchan 272:5. See Az Nidberu 1:7.

Weekly-Halacha, Text Copyright © 2013 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]