Let us strive to intelligently discuss the blessings of Kiddush and related activities.
The term Kiddush means “sanctification” in Hebrew and is also pronounced as Qiddush by many people. The Kiddush is a prayer that is recited over a cup of wine or grape juice to sanctify the Shabbat and other Jewish holidays. Reciting and chanting the Kiddush prayer also accentuates the sanctity of the auspicious Passover Seder.
Also Check : Kosher For Passover
What Does Kiddush Symbolize?
The wholesome concept of Kiddush that we observe today originated in segments, throughout Jewish history. The tradition of drinking wine before a communal meal was first celebrated in the first century when the cultural aspect of festive meals was preceded by a cup of wine, the drinking of which was initiated with a cup of wine.
Throughout Jewish history, Rabbis integrated the Kiddush activity and its relevant blessings, in accordance with the related Jewish holiday, to differentiate between Kiddush for Shabbat and the three major Jewish holidays of Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot.
This cultural rite primarily symbolizes the harvest festivals. Kiddush for Shabbat, Passover, and Shavuot recalls G-d’s creation of the world and redemption of the Jewish people from the slavery of Egyptian bondage.
Kiddush, which ultimately means to sanctify or uplift, along with wine, is likely the best way to observe and commemorate the creation of the world by the Almighty. It is a phenomenal way to thank the Almighty for blessing the Jewish people with freedom, and spiritual elevation, especially on these auspicious occasions.
Widely known as Kiddush, the pretext to the Shabbat meal is a special kind of experience for participants. This service paved the way towards being incorporated as a mainstay of religious practice, during the Middle Ages for people who were away from their homes and loved ones.
During Pesach, many Jewish families also invite travelers, visitors, and guests to their homes, so that they can be a part of the Kiddush prayer service, even while being away from their own home and family.
Important Elements of Kiddush
Traditionally a Kiddush cup is a beautifully crafted vessel that is made out of gold, silver, fine china, pottery, or pewter. While possible to do so, a Kiddush cup would not likely be made of disposable material like plastic or paper, even though there may not be a religious prohibition for so doing.
Generally, Kiddush cups are arrayed with beautifully crafted religious symbols and designs, that showcase popular: fruits, animals, birds, initials of a person’s name, a Bible passage and may also depict a local townscape or showcase ancestral synagogues.
While choosing a Kiddush cup one shall ensure that the cup is not chipped, malformed, or damaged. The crucial part of the Kiddush cup is its size, which should hold a revisit of liquid, which is approximately between 90.7 ml to 161.5 milliliters.
There are certain specifications regarding the type of wine that is used to fill the Kiddush cup. Firstly, the wine shall not be a libation, which means it shall not be handled by Gentiles unless has been boiled or made Mevushal. Kosher grape juice can be used as a substitute to perform the ritual of Kiddush.
It is observed as an auspicious opportunity to gather with around friends and families for the Sabbath or festive holiday meal. Since it is an integral part of the Shabbat, it must be recited with great care.
During the Sabbath electrical devices are not tampered with. Therefore, a timer can be set beforehand on an oven, a blech or steel sheet that covers the stovetop can also be used to keep food warm or hot.
As a result of this technical challenge, lunch that follows Kiddush may consist of a dairy meal, like cream cheese and lox, egg salad, tuna salad, along with platters of bagels and fruit salad or cookies. Especially on Shavuot, which is one of three major holidays, a dairy meal is served.
Usually, a specific place, like a social hall or multi-purpose room is acceptable for communal meals. Thus, a Kiddush luncheon is considered to be an auspicious event, during which to greet guests and to encourage children to socialize, with relatives and family friends, in a safe setting.
How to Perform Kiddush?
Though there are certain differences as to how Kiddush is performed, within various branches of Jewish groups and across different Jewish communities. What remains common to all is the use of a Kiddush Cup.
The Kiddush cup is used to elevate and sanctify the religious practice of Kiddush. The Kiddush cup is initially placed on a serving tray. The Kiddush cup is carefully filled with wine or grape juice, to the full brim of the cup. If wine or grape juice spills over, then this activity is considered to be a blessing for goodness and success to be abundant for the person making Kiddush and those listening to the blessings and responding Amen to each blessing.
Alongside the bottle of kosher wine or grape juice, a prayer book known as a Siddur or a butcher will be prominently placed on the table where is being said. Songs and additional blessings may follow the blessings of Kiddush.
Thus, Kiddush is considered to be a highly sanctified ceremony of blessings and special prayers, which is prayed by the head of the Jewish family or special guest for dinner or lunch.
After the completion of the Kiddush prayer and reciprocally responding Amen, each family member then sips wine from the Kiddush cup, which is usually held in the right hand of the orator of the blessing.
Some families use a special device, into which the wine or grape juice is poured, which subdivides the Kiddush wine or grape juice into various streams, which are in turn poured into small sampling cups for the Kiddush wine or grape juice.
According to Ashkenazi tradition, surprisingly, Kiddush can be made over bread, in the absence of wine. During this process, the two loaves of covered bread, also known as challah, are placed on the table, being symbolic of the two rows of six pieces of bread each that were placed on the table of the showbread, Android n the Holy Temple, in Jerusalem.
There are popular opinions that the two loaves of bread represent the double portion of manna, provided by G-d to the Hebrews, while in the desert. Thus, Kiddush is seen and commonly understood as a way of showing gratitude towards the Almighty G-d who has blessed Jewish with freedom from the bondage of Egyptian slavery.
Since Kiddush is all about a pious and religious practice, which is observed to sanctify the wine, grape juice, or bread; it is a great opportunity to show gratitude towards the Almighty G-d, creator of the universe who has brought and continues to bring all beings and all of creation into existence.
The core principle of Kiddush centers on certain key beliefs about uplifting times and dates for eating drinking, in accordance with key rules and customs, which are fully adhered to, in accordance with the Code of Jewish Law.