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[13] Kiddush - Part 2 of 2: All you need to know!

In this second section of the Halachos of Kiddush we will address the following questions:


While reciting kiddush, one should hold the cup in their right hand (or left hand if they are left-handed). The cup should be lifted at least a 'tefach', i.e. around 4 inches or 10 cm from the table. Bedieved (in retrospect), if one does not hold the cup, the obligation is still fulfilled as long as the filled cup was present (Shulchan Aruch OC 183:4-5).


Those listening fulfill the obligation without drinking any wine but it is preferable if they also drink some of the Kiddush wine, even a tiny amount suffices for this (Shulchan Aruch OC 271:14, Mishna Berurah Ibid 71). There is a minority opinion that rules that during the daytime all listeners are required to drink a bit of the Kiddush wine (Moadim Uzmanim Vol.3 243 from the Brisker Rov).

An ideal and practical way for the leader to drink and distribute Kiddush wine is as follows (this is useful for those who are particular not to drink from the same cup):

  1. Immediately after concluding the blessing pour some Kiddush wine into another cup (even a disposable cup suffices as Kiddush has already been recited) being sure to leave the required drinking amount in the Kiddush cup (i.e. at least 'melo lugmav', as detailed in our previous article).

  2. The leader should then drink the remainder of the Kiddush cup in full.

  3. The Kiddush wine which was poured out should be distributed to the listeners (if required more wine/grape juice can be added at this point).


One should not talk or eat until the person making Kiddush has finished drinking as this constitutes an interruption (Shulchan Aruch OC 271:16). If a listener would like to drink from the Kiddush wine but has interrupted in the interim, they must repeat the blessing of "Borei Peri Hagafen" prior to drinking.


There is a common practice that is difficult to explain whereby the listeners all hold a small glass of wine/grape juice and drink that after Kiddush without adding any actual Kiddush wine to it. What's perplexing about this is that the reason the listeners drink the Kiddush wine is to show a love for the Mitzvah "חיבוב מצוה" (Shulchan Aruch OC 271:14, Halichot Olam 2 p.22, see Gemara Shabbos 113b with Rashi). Seeing as these small cups are not actual 'Kiddush cups' as they don't have the required amount of wine, the holder must rely on the Kiddush of the leader. Therefore, without adding wine from the main large Kiddush cup these small cups seem merely ornamental.

This custom is mentioned by some (without explanation) in the context of cautioning the listeners not to drink before the leader (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa ch.48 fn.74, also see Aruch Hashulchan 271:41 who implies that if the cups are not completely empty of wine then these too are considered a 'Kos Shel Bracha', however Piskei Teshuvos 271 fn.396 comments that this is very difficult to understand "Vetzarich Iyun Gadol").

This practice is likely based on the Shulchan Aruch OC (271:16-17) who discusses "the cups in front of the others" during Kiddush, but it is most plausible to assume he is referring to full cups of wine fit for Kiddush (as mentioned in Rosh Pesachim 10:16), especially as in those days wine was a commonplace drink.

I will note that there is one Halachic ramification to this custom whereby if one drinks this wine and has intention to also drink wine during the meal, they are no longer required to make a beracha when drinking wine subsequently (Shulchan Aruch OC 174:4, Mishna Berurah Ibid 8). So whilst this may not constitute drinking the Kiddush wine, it does still help exempt the drinker from reciting a beracha on wine during the meal.


One only fulfills the obligation to make Kiddush if a "seudah" (meal) is eaten immediately afterward in the same location. This is known as "Kiddush Bemakom Seudah". We will now define a) a 'meal' and b) what is considered the same 'location':

A) Seudah - Meal

Ideally, the meal consists of bread. However, during the day one may make Kiddush and then foods from one of the five grains (wheat, barley, oats, rye, and spelt, i.e. the 'Chameishes Minei Dagan') upon which the beracha of Mezonos is recited (Shulchan Aruch OC 273:5, See S.S.K. 54:22). At night one should only make Kiddush on Mezonos in extenuating circumstances (Ein Yitzchok 12:11). When not having a meal with two loaves of bread (Lechem Mishneh), one should ensure to have a regular Shabbos meal later in order to fulfill the separate obligation to have three meals on Shabbos (see our previous article for the guidelines). When having the meal later Kiddush does not need to be recited again, unless there is someone present who still requires Kiddush.

In order for it to be considered a 'meal' one must eat at least 'kezayis' of bread or Mezonos foods. This is ideally the volume of 1.13 fl. oz. or 33.3ml/cm (as per the Chazon Ish's measurement) which is about the size of a golf ball or roll of quarters. If one is unable to eat this amount, 27ml/cm or 0.91 fl. oz. will suffice (as per Reb Chaim Noeh). NOTE: If one does not eat a 'kezayis' of a grain-based food they have not fulfilled the obligation of Kiddush! For example, if one heard Kiddush on Shabbos morning in shul and did not eat the prescribed amount of Mezonos, they have not fulfilled the obligation and must recite Kiddush again and then eat a meal.

In a case of great need, e.g. one is ill and cannot eat grain products they can drink a revi’is of wine or grape juice to fulfill this condition (Mishna Berrura 273:25). A revi'is is ideally 5.07 fl. oz. / 150 ml, and if required 3.8 fl. oz. / 112 ml suffices (Biur Halacha 271:13).

B) Location If one heard Kiddush while on one side of the dining room or social hall, and then moved to the other side of the room to eat, this is considered the same location. However, one may not leave the building to eat the meal. For example, one does not fulfill the Kiddush obligation if they heard Kiddush in shul and then went home to eat.

If one hears Kiddush in one room, whilst having intention to eat in a different room in the same building, this suffices after-the-fact (bedieved). Ideally (lechatchila), one should not make Kiddush in another room unless the one leading Kiddush can see where they will eat (Shulchan Aruch OC 273:1, Mishna Berrua Ibid).


Every adult Jew has an obligation to recite Kiddush. One may fulfill their obligation to recite Kiddush by hearing someone else recite it. This is known as "Shomaya K'ona", meaning "listening is like reciting". One must ensure that the following two conditions are met (Shulchan Aruch OC 213:3):

1. One must hear the entire Kiddush – One should not speak at all while listening and one should also not speak between Kiddush and drinking.

2. Intention – It is necessary for the one reciting Kiddush to have in mind that they are also reciting it on behalf of those listening. In addition, each person listening to Kiddush must have in mind that they want to fulfill their Kiddush obligation by hearing it. For example: If someone was at Kiddush in Shul but was not planning to eat. If they later change their mind and decide to eat, they must recite (or hear) Kiddush again. This is because, although they "heard" Kiddush, they did not have in mind to fulfill the obligation at that time.

Those being included should be sure to answer "Amen" after the Kiddush blessings (Shulchan Aruch OC 8:5). If one did not reply with Amen they have still fulfilled the Mitzvah of Kiddush provided that they heard the entire blessing (Shulchan Aruch OC 213:2, Mishne Berura 213:17 and 8:16).


In our fast-paced modern world filled with smartphones, instant messaging, and unlimited distractions, it is our duty to emulate our Creator as we stop all of our work for Shabbos. The precious Mitzvah of Kiddush is a symbolism for our responsibility to sanctify everything around us.


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