Kidush is a central factor in creating the proper Shabat atmosphere. So much so, that many Jews who do not observe other laws of Shabat make kidush regularly Friday night. We will attempt to understand what constitutes a proper kidush.

The Rambam in the twenty ninth chapter of his Hilchot Shabat states that the Torah obligation of kidush, which is derived from the pasuk “Zachor et yom ha’Shabat le’kadsho”, is fulfilled by verbalizing the sanctity of the day. Chazal later added the requirement of saying the kidush with a cup of wine (Rambam Hilchot Shabat 29/ 1,6). Other authorities such as Rashi, the Ran and one opinion in Tosafot, are of the opinion that the biblical requirement of kidush includes the use of wine (See Aruch Hashulcan OC 271/ 1-3).

When reciting the kidush one should hold a cup that contains a Reviit of wine in his right hand. There are varied opinions as to what constitutes a reviit, ranging from 3oz. to over 5oz. Even when the cup contains more then a reviit it should be filled to the top. Upon the conclusion of the recitation of kidush, the person reciting the kidush must drink a “Rove Reviit”, a majority of a reviit. Should he not be able to drink the wine another person may then drink it in place of him. Though it is preferable that everyone drinks some of the wine, one who does not drink has non-the less fulfilled the requirement of kidush. Even if many people are drinking the wine one of them (preferably the one who recited the kidush) should drink the required amount. If no one person drank the required amount but amongst them a “rove reviit” has been drunk there is no need to repeat the kidush.

As opposed to the Kidush Mideoritah, the biblical requirement of kidush, which can be said in any setting, the rabbinic format for kidush calls for reciting the kidush within the framework of a meal. This halachah known as “Kidush Bemakom Seudah” needs further clarification. First, we need to define what makom in the phrase makom seudah means. Does one need to recite the kidush in the precise place where he will eat or are the same room or house sufficient? Second, how soon after reciting the kidush must one eat?

At the very least, the kidush and meal must be in the same structure even if different rooms are used, on condition that one had in mind at the time of kidush to eat in the other room. Other poskim require that if the eating is in a different room from where the kidush is recited, one should at least be able to see from one room to the other. Ideally, kidush should be re
cited in the same room where the eating takes place. Even if it is a very large room such as a wedding hall, kidush may be recited in one end while the food is served on the other, as long as walls do not separate the two.

The Rama states that eating must commence “le’altar”, immediately. According to the Rama it could be understood literally since he is of the opinion that one should wash for bread before reciting the kidush on the wine. (Rama OC 271/12) Yet, for those who follow the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch and most other poskim, it is clear that this cannot be understood literally since we do stop to wash our hands between reciting the kidush and eating the challah. Therefore we must say, as the Aruch Hashulchan writes, that immediately means within a short time in which only things that are meant as preparation for eating may be done. As a matter of fact, the Aruch Hashulchan writes that if it is customary to change clothing before eating (or at least to remove ties and jackets) this would not constitute an unacceptable break between kidush and eating.

Another point that needs some clarification is what constitutes a “seudah” for the purpose of kidush. Ideally the kidush should proceed the Shabat meal where the seudah is the meal itself. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 273/5) brings the opinion of the Geonim that if enough bread is eaten or wine is drunk to require a bracha than one can eat the rest of the meal elsewhere. Accordingly, one would need to eat at least a kezayit of bread or drink a reviit of wine to fulfill the requirment of kidush. Though it is agreed that for kidush on Friday night bread is needed, many of the poskim write that after the kidush of the morning one could suffice with other baked goods for the seudah of kidush. (It should be noted that if bread is not used, this seudah of baked goods validates the daytime kidush but does not constitute one of the three meals required on Shabat.) Some poskim, such as the Gaon of Vilna, are of the opinion that bread is needed for the morning kidush as well. All of the above opinions agree that fruit should not be used as the seudah after kidush even during the day.

In conclusion, to make a proper kidush one must take a cup that contains at least a reviit, recite the kidush, drink a majority of a reviit and then proceed to eat. At night one must wash and eat a kezayit of bread, during the day it is ideal to eat bread as well, but one may suffice by eating other baked goods.