What does wine have to do with kiddush and havdalah?
By the same token
one can ask what does wine have to do with a b’ris, a wedding
ceremony or bentching. Actually, the above occasions would
have been just as permissible with or without wine. However,
Chazal wanted to add a measure of majesty to these ceremonies
and incorporated a b’racha over wine.
Wine is an
important beverage, so much so that the b’racha over wine was
modified from boreh p’ri ha’eitz to boreh p’ri hagofen.
By praising Hashem for creating wine on these special
occasions, we add dignity to the ceremony. Many Rishonim are
of the opinion that drinking the wine is of secondary importance
with the main issue being the reciting of the b’racha.
For these reasons
the kiddush or havdala is recited over a cup of wine.
What can be used instead of wine or grape
There is a
difference between the kiddush on Friday night and Shabbos
On Friday night:
one should make
kiddush over wine or grape juice.
It is permissible
for the person reciting the kiddush to take a sip of the wine
or grape juice and have someone else down the remainder of the
required volume. However, it is desirable that the one who recites
the kiddush should himself drink the required amount.
If one is unable to
take even a sip of the wine or grape juice, someone else should
recite the kiddush and drink the required volume of
kiddush wine or grape juice.
A person should not recite the kiddush if there is no
intention of sipping the wine or grape juice.
If nobody is
available to drink the wine or grape juice, or if one is not able to
obtain wine or grape juice:
one should recite
kiddush over the challos (we will see later
b’ezras Hashem how this is done), which is preferred to
reciting kiddush over other beverages.
If one is without
wine or challos:
one should recite
the kiddush over “the drink of the land – cheimar
medinah”. Rav Moshe Feinstein ztz”l writes
that “the drink of the land” is of such importance that it is
offered to guests or consumed at meals and not (only) consumed to
quench thirst. Beer and 100% fruit juices might fit the bill.
order of preference for the Friday night kiddush: wine or
grape juice, challos, drink of the land.
On Shabbos day
– the order of preference is different:
Wine or grape
juice, the drink of the land,
Why is there a difference between Friday
night and Shabbos day?
First we must
appreciate that on Friday night, aside from reciting Vayechulu,
we also recite the b’racha of kiddush (after the
Boreh p’ri hagofen). On Shabbos day we do not recite kiddush,
we only recite the Boreh p’ri hagofen. (Although many have
the custom to recite various pesukim before the Boreh p’ri
hagofen, this does not constitute kiddush and even if one
was to omit them altogether, one’s kiddush would still be
Based on that, on
Shabbos day, if one does not have wine or grape juice and one
commences the meal by reciting the hamotzi over the
challos, the meal would appear to be the same as a regular
weekday meal. This is because one commences a weekday meal with
hamotzi. It is the b’racha recited over wine or grape
juice, or at least over “the drink of the land”, that lends the meal
its special nature of festivity.
of kiddush on Friday night sets the meal apart from a weekday
meal and consequently when kiddush is recited over the challos,
it is still unique and different from a weekday meal.
How is kiddush recited over challos?
It is less
complicated than it seems.
The host, household and guests wash hands before kiddush. The
two challos are covered before Vayechulu and one
places both hands over the cover during the Vayechulu. After
Vayechulu, one exposes the challos, places one’s hands
on them and recites the birkas hamotzi. They are covered
again and the kiddush is recited while placing one’s hands
over the challos. After the kiddush one breaks the
bread and eats at least a kazayis.
On Shabbos day, if
no wine or “drink of the land” is available, one should say “æëåø
àú éåí äùáú ì÷ãùå” before reciting the hamotzi over
Is one permitted to drink or eat before
that one may not eat or drink before kiddush, night or day.
This includes even a small amount of water. If one is thirsty, one
should recite the kiddush in the regular manner over wine or
grape juice and only then eat or drink. The reason for this is
because the main time point to recite the kiddush is at the
onset of Shabbos and therefore one should not eat or drink