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Kiddush on Shabbos Mornings


If one simply observes the ways that people conduct themselves in the matter of Kiddush on Shabbos morning, there could be some confusion as to what is the proper manner for Kiddush. 

In following the guidelines established in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim, 272) the most preferred beverage is wine in a cup that contains a required “shiur” of a “reviis” (displacement of an egg and a half.)  The one making the Kiddush must drink a “rov” or the majority of the wine in the cup.  For further details concerning the drinking or distribution of the Kiddush wine one should refer to the Shulchan Aruch (ibid.)  However, one cannot help notice that there are many individuals who, when they are joining in any Kiddush procedure, will use a small glass with whiskey for this purpose.  This seems to contradict the above-mentioned sources quoted regarding the use of wine and in a required shiur. 

Even when one wants to use some other beverage, which is accepted as “Chamar d’medina” or popular drink used by most people, it still seems necessary to have the proper shiur (ibid, Mishna Brura).  What then is the basis of using the small “shot” glass of whiskey for Kiddush on Shabbos morning?   

This matter is discussed by the eminent posek Maharsham in his responsa (Sheila v’Tshuvos Maharsham Vol. I, 175).  He cites the minhag of several Chasidic geonim who recited Kiddush on the small glass of liquor on Shabbos morning when the entire law of Kiddush is “midarabonon”, a rabbinic obligation (rather than ordained by Torah law). 

The basis for this is the analysis of the great commentator on Shulchan Aruch, R. David Halevi, known as the Taz (Orach Chaim, 210). He suggests that if the beverage is so strong that the normal intake is in small amounts, even less than the shiur of a “reviis,” then it qualifies for making a “bracha achrona.” This is because that lesser amount could satiate a person as much as someone drinking another beverage in a larger required “shiur.”  This ruling by the Taz then forms the basis for the custom of using the small glass for the liquor because of its concentrated strength. Thus, while priority on Shabbos morning should be given to Kiddush on wine, this other mode of Kiddush described above is halachically acceptable.

HaRav Gedalia Dov Schwartz, Shlit"a
Rosh Beth Din

HaRav Yona Reiss, Shlit"a
Av Beth Din


Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
Kashruth Administrator

Rabbi Levi Mostofsky
Executive Director

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