Tag: Shabbat

Friday night Kiddush: how to

Whether grape juice or wine, you’ll want to savor the moment.

See companion article on the inspirational side of Friday Night Kiddush.

Kiddush does not have to be said in Hebrew. It is acceptable to say in English or any other language, although Hebrew is preferred, and a person should make an effort to learn the Hebrew.

From the time the sun sets (or, for a woman, once the candles are lit), until after kiddush is made, one should not eat or drink anything.

The procedure is as follows:

1. The table should be set with both challahs on the table, covered on top and below (e.g. a challah cover on top, and the challah board below).

2. You should use a special kiddush cup that holds at least 4 1/2 ounces. Fill the cup to the rim (our joy should be “full”). If you don’t have a kiddush cup, any cup many be used, as long as it holds 4 1/2 ounces and is not disposable.

3. Any kosher wine or grape juice can be used.

4. The one making kiddush should have in mind to include the others in the blessings; thus kiddush is being made on their behalf. Likewise, those present should have in mind the same. It is proper to also keep in mind that, by reciting kiddush, one is fulfilling a Torah commandment.

5. There are different customs regarding whether one stands or sits while making kiddush. If you don’t have a family custom, the choice is yours! Some people stand on Friday night while making kiddush because, on Friday night, we are like witnesses to the “coming in” of Shabbat. And just as witnesses in a Jewish court stand when giving testimony, so do we stand when making kiddush. (On Shabbat day there is no “coming in” to witness, so some people choose to make kiddush while seated.)

Other people sit both Friday night and Shabbat day. Just be consistent from week to week, and all those present will do a little “Simon Says” and follow your lead.

5. Those being included in kiddush should be sure to answer “Amen” after the blessing of the wine (“borei peri ha-gafen”), and after the concluding blessing that follows.

Why Dairy on Shavout?

“Like honey and milk [the Torah] lies under your tongue” (Song of Songs 4:11). Just as milk has the ability to fully sustain the body of a human being (i.e. a nursing baby), so too the Torah provides all the “spiritual nourishment” necessary for the human soul.

#imag1 Seven fascinating reasons behind this popular custom.

Ahhh… the sumptuous delight of blintzes and cheesecake. Eating a dairy meal on Shavuot has become an enduring tradition. But what’s the source for this? Here are six fascinating reasons:

Reason #1

When the Jewish people received the Torah at Mount Sinai, included was special instructions for how to slaughter and prepare meat for eating. Until then, the Jews had not followed these laws, thus all their meat – plus the cooking pots – were now considered “not kosher.” So the only alternative was to eat dairy, which requires no advance preparation.

This raises the question, however: Why didn’t the Jews simply slaughter new animals, “kasher” their pots in boiling water (hagala), and cook fresh meat?

The answer is that the revelation at Sinai occurred on Shabbat, when slaughter and cooking are prohibited.

Another point to clarify: How were the Jews able to obtain milk on Shabbat, since milking an animal falls under the prohibited activity of mefarek?

The answer is that the Jews already had milk available from before Shabbat, which they had been using to feed the various animals that accompanied their journeys in the wilderness.

Reason #2

Torah is likened to milk, as the verse says, “Like honey and milk [the Torah] lies under your tongue” (Song of Songs 4:11). Just as milk has the ability to fully sustain the body of a human being (i.e. a nursing baby), so too the Torah provides all the “spiritual nourishment” necessary for the human soul.