shabbos candles

The Shabbos Weekly
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

shabbos candles

Published by
Pirchei Shoshanim

A Project of
The Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Based on the Shiurim Given by

Rabbi Dovid
Ostroff, shlita

developed from the Chabura of the
Pirchei Shoshanim Shulchan Aruch Learning Project

These Halachos were shown by Rabbi Ostroff to
HaGaon HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita


Questions for the Week of Parshas Tzav

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 bris, 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 bracha over wine.

Wine is an important beverage, so much so that the bracha over wine was modified from boreh pri haeitz to boreh pri 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 bracha. [1]

For these reasons the kiddush or havdala is recited over a cup of wine.

What can be used instead of wine or grape juice?

There is a difference between the kiddush on Friday night and Shabbos day.

On Friday night:

  • one should make kiddush over wine or grape juice. [2]

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. [3]

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. [4] 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 bezras Hashem how this is done), which is preferred to reciting kiddush over other beverages. [5]

If one is without wine or challos:

  • one should recite the kiddush over the drink of the land cheimar medinah. Rav Moshe Feinstein ztzl writes [6] 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.

Summarizing the 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, [7] challos.

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 bracha of kiddush (after the Boreh pri hagofen). On Shabbos day we do not recite kiddush, we only recite the Boreh pri hagofen. (Although many have the custom to recite various pesukim before the Boreh pri hagofen, this does not constitute kiddush and even if one was to omit them altogether, ones kiddush would still be valid).

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 bracha recited over wine or grape juice, or at least over the drink of the land, that lends the meal its special nature of festivity.

The bracha 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. [8] 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 ones hands on them and recites the birkas hamotzi. They are covered again and the kiddush is recited while placing ones hands over the challos. After the kiddush one breaks the bread and eats at least a kazayis. [9]

On Shabbos day, if no wine or drink of the land is available, one should say before reciting the hamotzi over the challos. [10]

Is one permitted to drink or eat before kiddush?

The Shulchan Aruch says [11] that one may not eat or drink before kiddush, night or day. [12] 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 beforehand. [13]

[1] We see in the Rishonim that the bracha over the wine is considered shira praise.

[2] Simon 272, several seifim.

[3] Based on the Geonim in simon 271:14.

[4] Based on MB 272:33 and SSK 53:5.

[5] MB 272:27.

[6] Iggros Moshe Orach Chaim vol. II simon 75.

[7] MB simon 272:29. SSK 53:9 and footnote 34.

[8] Based on the SSK 53:15. Other hidurim are mentioned there, see inside.

[9] According to R Chaim Naeh 28ml, 0.94 fl.oz.(US). The Chazon Ish 50 ml, 1.69 fl.oz.(US).

[10] HaRav Moshe Sternbuch shlita.

[11] Simon 271:4.

[12] Simon 289:1.

[13] See Shulchan Aruch HaRav 271:9 and MB 271:11.


Food For Thought

Must all the participants partake of the kiddush wine?

What if the wine spills before being consumed, must kiddush be recited again?

Which meal should be more elaborate, the night meal or the day one?

May one dally between the kiddush and the meal?

Answers coming be"H next week.

Vort on the Parsha

The Midrash Tanchumah (Emor 14) says that in the future, the only korban that will be offered will be the Todah. Rav Sternbuch explains that with Moshiach amidst us and with everyone adhering to the Torah, Hashem will shield us from even an unintentional sin and negate the need for korbanos as atonement.

The Todah however will be much in demand when people appreciate all that Hashem does and has done for them. 'bimheirah veyameinu amen' .


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Note:  The purpose of this series is intended solely for the clarification of the topics discussed and not to render halachic decisions. It is intended to heighten everyone's awareness of important practical questions which do arise on this topic.  One must consult with a proper halachic authority in order to receive p'sak.