Shabbat Laws

Translated/adapted from "A Summary of the Shabbat Laws" (published by Machon Ohaley Shem)


Laws 1-21

Laws 22-53

Laws 54 -103


Laws 104-149 Kiddush

Law # 104

It is a positive Torah commandment to sanctify Shabbos with words, as in the verse, 'Remember the Shabbos to sanctify it". How? By mentioning the Shabbat with words of praise and sanctification. When? At it's beginning and end. How? The Rabbis required this be done over a cup of wine.

Law # 105

Women are usually exempt from performing time-bound positive mitzvahs. However, the Torah does require them to make/hear kiddush on Shabbos. This is because, just as women must perform the mitzvah of 'keeping' Shabbos by refraining from forbidden labor, so too they must fulfill the mitzvah of 'remembering' Shabbos, which we do through kiddush.

Law # 106

One should make kiddush as close as possible to the beginning of Shabbos. Even if someone began Shabbos early (by praying the evening prayer before nightfall), he should still make kiddush as soon as possible. In addition to this, one should proceed to eat soon after making kiddush, so that his kiddush be connected to the Shabbos meal. However, if someone is not hungry, he may wait until later at night to make kiddush in order to have an appetite for the meal.

Law # 107

Some people do not make kiddush during the 7th hour of the day (approx. 6-7 PM), because this is the hour that the red planet is in ascendancy and the 'accuser' rules. However, one need not worry about this if making kiddush on white wine. Also, many Rabbis rule that if one returns from the synagogue it is preferable to make kiddush immediately, even if it is during this hour.

Law # 108

If someone forgot to make kiddush at night, he or she may make it up throughout the next day by reciting the night-time kiddush excluding the paragraph of 'vayechulu'.

Law # 109

Once it is dusk, the Rabbis forbade eating or drinking, even water, before kiddush. The reason the Rabbis are stricter about this with kiddush than other mitzvahs, is because kiddush should be performed as soon as one can, and it would be improper to delay this even for a short while. If someone lit Shabbos candles or prayed the Shabbos evening prayers early, he or she may not eat or drink either before kiddush, even if it is still day.

Law #110

If someone does not have wine, another alcoholic beverage, or bread (for on these one may make kiddush), but expects that he will obtain one of them later that night, then he should wait to eat until making kiddush; at least wait midnight. If someone knows he will not have one of these items, he may eat anyway without making kiddush, because one shouldn't go to sleep fasting on Shabbos, and also in his evening prayers, he mentioned Shabbos which is the basic Torah requirement for sanctifying the Shabbos.

Law #111

Children may be fed before kiddush, even if they are old enough to be taught otherwise. Interestingly, that while non-kosher foods may not be fed to children, forbidden times of eating do not apply to them, for example, Yom Kippur.

Law # 112

If it becomes dusk on Friday, and one is in the middle of eating, he should immediately stop. In such a case, if he wishes to continue eating making this food his Shabbat meal, then grace need not be said, but one should cover the bread, make kiddush, and then continue eating. If one had already been drinking wine and eating bread before making kiddush, and therefore the appropriate blessings on them had been recited ("...on the fruit of the vine" & "...who takes bread from the earth"), one should not repeat the blessing on wine in kiddush or of bread afterward. However, none of this is ideal. One should really complete the meal and say grace before dusk arrives.

Law # 113

Kiddush should be said before the Shabbat meal, as it is written, "and You called the Shabbat oneg-pleasure" (Isaiah 58/13), and therefore the Sages said that kiddush should be recited for oneg. If someone forgot and ate the Shabbat meal without saying kiddush, he or she should recite it as soon as remembering, without eating anything until doing so. In such a case, there is no need to eat again afterwards. If one remembered after washing hands for bread, but had not yet blessed on it, he should make kiddush on the bread.

Law # 114

The Shabbat table should be set while still daytime on Friday. It is customary to cover the challah loaves with a cloth until after kiddush. This is so that after kiddush when the bread is uncovered, it will seem that it was just then served in honor of Shabbos (this law applies even when kiddush is made on the challah). Additionally, there should be something under the challahs, in commemoration of the mannah of the desert which was found between two layers of dew.

Law # 115

If someone wishes, it is permitted to wash hands for bread and then make kiddush, but it is preferable to make kiddush first. If someone blessed on the challah bread but still did not eat it, and then remembered not yet having recited kiddush, he or she should continue by making kiddush on the bread. The reason for this is that it is forbidden to eat anything before making kiddush, but someone cannot interrupt between the blessing for the bread and eating it in order to make kiddush on wine.

Law # 116

The cup used for making kiddush (as well as the cup of wine over which grace is customarily recited) must be whole with no cracks or chips anywhere-unless there is no alternative. It should be washed or wiped clean, to be beautiful for the mitzvah. The cup should be full of wine, or an object may be placed in the cup to take up additional volume and fill the cup. If someone is worried about spilling and then wasting wine because the cup is full, he or she may fill the cup close to the top, and it is sufficient. Before kiddush, if someone already drank from the cup, the wine becomes disqualified for kiddush. To fix such a situation, more wine or water may be added to the cup, and then it is permitted.

Law # 117

A person should pick up the kiddush cup with both hands in order to show that it is esteemed. After this, one should let go with the left hand, leaving the right hand holding the cup, so that it will not seem like a burden. If someone is left handed, the cup should be held in the left hand. One should raise the cup a handbreadth above the table, so that everyone will be able to see it. The person making kiddush should look at the cup while blessing, so that he will not be distracted. Also, the cup must contain at least a rivi'it (86 fl. oz) of wine.

Law # 118

Even though the verses of "Vayachulu"-"And (they) were completed" were recited already in the evening prayer, they should be repeated as part of kiddush for the family members (such as young children) who did not recite them. Also, according to Kabblah, these verses should be said a total of three times on Friday night-once in the amidah, once in the amidah's repetition and again in kiddush. "Vayachulu..." should be said standing. After this the blessings on the wine and kiddush are recited, and then one should sit to drink the wine. The initial letters of the first four words of kiddush: "Yom HaShishi Vayachulu HaShamayim-form G-d's name YKV"K

Law # 119

When beginning to recite kiddush on Shabbos and holidays, it is customary to look at the candles that were blessed upon. This is because the Gematriah (numerical value) of twice the Hebrew word 'ner'-candle-is 500. People have 500 'illuminations of the eyes', of which one is extinguished through pride. Looking at the candles heals this loss (as does making kiddush and havdala specifically over WINE). However, when blessing on the kiddush, one must look at the cup of wine. If someone forgot to recite "Vayachulu"-"And (they) were completed", he should do so during the meal while holding the cup of wine. It customary to add the Aramaic words 'savrei maranan' before the wine blessing, which calls the listeners to pay attention to the blessings and be exempted by the person who is making kiddush.

Law #120

One may exempt others from the obligation to recite kiddush through their listening to his recital. This applies even in a situation in which the person making kiddush had already done so, but the listener had not. This is because all Jews are connected, so one person's obligation to fulfill a mitzvah obligates us to help him or her fulfill it. The person making kiddush must have in mind to exempt the listeners; and the listeners must intend to be exempted via their listening. Listeners should be careful to hear every word of kiddush. If several families eat together, it is recommended that each head of a household make kiddush for his own family, rather than make kiddush simultaneously. (If several families do make kiddush simultaneously, they should not be reprimanded for doing so. We can rely that the listeners will be careful to hear the words, since kiddush is important to them.)

Law #121

Someone who listens to kiddush in order to fulfill his or her obligation should be very careful not answer 'Blessed is He, and Blessed is His Name' (Baruch Hu U'Varuch Shmo) because this would constitute an interruption. At night, one should not recite kiddush for others if one is not doing so for himself, unless the other people do not know how to make kiddush themselves. However, in the day, someone who already made kiddush may repeat it for others who did not yet make kiddush, since the only blessing recited in the day is the one on the wine, and one will anyway drink the wine.

Law #122

It is permissible to make kiddush for others even if you do not intend to fulfill your own obligation. In such a case, one must be careful not to drink from the cup of wine. Only one who has made kiddush for himself is allowed to eat or drink. Rather, one of the listeners should drink the wine. Usually, making a blessing for someone else on food or drink may only be done if the person making the blessing also partakes. The reason one may recite the blessing over wine in the kiddush prayer is because wine is an obligatory part of the mitzvah. Nevertheless, if the listener knows how to recite the blessing over the wine, it is preferable that he or she actually make that blessing. By the way, the same rule is true over 'Hamotzi'-the blessing on the bread-when one is making kiddush on bread instead of wine.

Law #123

Men and women are equally obligated to make kiddush in the day. Therefore, a woman's recital of kiddush can exempt men. However, it is preferable that this be done only in urgent situations. Someone younger than bar/bat mitzvah age, cannot exempt an adult; the adult must make kiddush by himself. If an adult does not know how to make kiddush by himself, he may say it word by word with the child in order to fulfill the mitzvah. Someone may recite kiddush in any language as long as the translation is accurate and the meaning of the words is as intended. The words must be pronounced carefully as when blessing in Hebrew.

Law #124

It is preferable to have the proper understanding of the words of kiddush; therefore it should be said in a language that one understands, even if this is not Hebrew. However, the custom is that even someone who does not understand can fulfill his obligation of kiddush if he recited it in Hebrew. (This is true of all brachot , while it is better to recite them in a language that one does understand, one still fulfills the obligation even if reciting them in a different language.) Similarly one who hears kiddush should try to hear it in a language that he understands, but he may fulfill his obligation in any language even if he does not understand. However, if listening to kiddush in a language that one does not understand, one should recite all the words simultaneously along with the person making kiddush.

Law #125

Whenever a blessing is recited over a cup (of wine), it is required to drink from it afterwards. In order for this blessing to be considered as a joyful 'song', one needs to drink at least a cheekful (which is most of a revi'is (86 grams) for the average person, or more or less according to the size of the person drinking, but not more than a revi'is).

Law #126

It is best to drink the prescribed minimum amount (86g.-rivi'is) of kiddush wine at one time. For this reason, one should not use a narrow mouthed (like a bottle) kiddush cup, because that would make it very difficult to drink the whole amount at once. If someone did pause while drinking, even several times, he fulfills his obligation, as long as the total drinking time does not exceed about 3-4 minutes. If it did exceed this time limit, the kiddush is invalid.

Law #127

It is best that the person making kiddush should be the one to drink a cheekful (rivi'is-86g). This is because we are commanded "remember to sanctify the Shabbat day" (Shmot 20/8), and the Sages taught that we should 'remember it on wine' to honor the day. Therefore the one making kiddush--who mentions this remembering--should be the one to drink the wine. If one of the other people at the table drank a 'cheekful' instead of the person who recited kiddush, everyone fulfills his or her obligation. However, it is not permissible for two people to divide the 'cheekful' amount between them, because less than this amount is not considered enjoyment of a 'cup of blessing'.

Law #128

It is best if everyone at the Shabbat table taste from the kiddush wine (though it does not have to be a rivi'is/cheekful). Before drinking, the other people do not need to make a blessing on the wine because they are released from their obligation by the person who recited kiddush. However, if someone has only a little wine, only the one person should drink the required amount, and then the rest should be saved to make kiddush the next day. After making kiddush at night, one should save the leftovers for kiddush the next day and for havdallah. In order to do so, it is important to add wine to the cup from the bottle (so that it will be considered fit for later use) and then return the wine to the bottle. One who does so "will inherit the World to Come".

Law #129

Wine must be drunk immediately after completing whatever blessing was recited upon it (kiddush, havdalah, etc.), so that one not leave his place or become distracted in the meantime. If someone went to a different room or became distracted before drinking from the wine, or had only drunk less than the required amount (less than a rivi'is), or 3-4 minutes went by without drinking this amount, the kiddush in invalid and must be repeated. If one spoke before drinking but had not actually become distracted, he must only repeat the blessing on the wine ("al pri hagafen") and then drink.

Law #130

If someone accidentally made kiddush on a cup of water, thinking it was wine, he must start all over again, because the Sages established that kiddush be made on wine (or grape juice). If, however, there was a rivi'is of wine in a single vessel, ready to drink, on the table or bench near him, he should drink that wine immediately and the kiddush is valid.

Law #131

One need not say an after-blessing after kiddush. This is because kiddush is necessary for and subordinate to the meal, and the requirement to bless after the wine is covered by the grace which is recited at the meal's conclusion. If someone drinks wine during the meal, he or she need not say the blessing 'on the fruit of the vine' since this was already mentioned in kiddush. (However, in any meal which is not preceded by kiddush, the blessing over wine must be recited, even if one washed on bread and thereby exempted oneself from most other blessings on food and drink).

Law #132

Wine that did not begin to ferment, but smelled bad from being contained in a repugnant vessel, may not be used for kiddush. This is learned from the verse " me a favor and offer it to your governor. Will he be appeased? Will he show you favor?" (Malachi 1/8)-meaning that what is unsuitable to present as a gift to another person, should not be used for mitzvah purposes. If wine tastes fermented (even though it may still smell like wine) it should not be blessed with 'on the fruit of the wine,' let alone be used for kiddush. However, if it smells fermented, but tastes like wine, the 'vine' blessing and kiddush may be recited, since "everything goes according to the taste". Nevertheless, it is best to choose a high quality wine for making kiddush

Law #133

We do not make kiddush on wine that was left open for several hours (such as overnight). This is despite the fact that in our days we are not usually concerned about this, since snakes and scorpions (which might enter the liquid) are not commonly found. The reason we are stringent because of the principle that we do not perform a mitzvah with something that we would not consider worthy enough to give as a gift to another person. If the wine was only left open for a short amount of time and its smell and taste were not changed, it may be used for kiddush.

Law #134

One may make kiddush on grape juice, though aged wine is preferable because it is more praiseworthy. Also, white wine is permissible as long as it is of at least equal caliber to the red. (However, for the Passover seder, red wine is preferable). It is best to select the choicest wine for kiddush.

Law #135

It is best to dilute very concentrated wine, but even if undiluted, it may used for kiddush. However, in the case of diluting wine, one must be careful that the amount of water not be more than 5/6 of the total, especially in our day when some wines are based on concentrates, and manufacturers have already added much water. It is better to choose a wine that does not need diluting and did not have any water added in the distillery, either (these wines are very prevalent in our day).

Law #136

Raisin wine may be used for kiddush, but only as long as moisture can be extracted from the raisins in some manner besides soaking them (in which case, the blessing 'of the fruit of the vine' is not even recited). Wine that has been boiled (or pasteurized), and wine that has honey (or sugar) added may be used for kiddush. This is because boiling improves the wine's quality; so even though boiled or 'honeyed' wine was not permitted for use on the altar, they are permitted for kiddush. However, given a choice, one should choose a wine of the same caliber that has not been boiled or had honey added.

Law # 137

Some authorities permit making kiddush on bread or on the 'brew of the country' instead of wine. In regards to kiddush on bread at night, one should only do so if wine is not available in the city; this is in accordance with the opinion that kiddush should be said specifically over a cup. If someone has enough wine or 'brew' for only one cup, it should be saved for havdalah (which can't be said on bread) and make kiddush on bread.

Law # 138

If in a certain city or country, it is very common to base a meal on certain alcoholic beverages, (in the same way that wine would be used if it would be readily available or if it was less expensive). These beverages are known as the 'brew of the country' and may be used for all ceremonies: kiddush, havdalah, grace, bris milah, pidyon ha-ben weddings, etc.

Law # 139

Esteemed beverages, such as liquor, which are only occasionally drunk due to their worth, are also called 'brew of the country', and may be used for kiddush (though wine is still preferable if is it the beverage typically used for kiddush in that place)

Law # 140

Inferior drinks such as cider and borscht, even if they are a city's main beverage, may not be used for kiddush, since they are considered unworthy and compared to water. Laws translated & adapted from Kitzur Halachot; pub. Oholei Shem-Lubavitch, 1992. pp. 175).

Law # 141

One who has taken a vow not to drink wine, may make kiddush (including the blessing "on the fruit of the vine") and have one of the other people at the meal drink it, or hear kiddush from someone else. If one is eating alone, he may make kiddush on bread instead, or on raisin wine, which is not included in his vow. If someone dislikes wine, he must drink it at night anyway, and not use bread, (in the day he may use one of the "brew of the country" beverages, but not bread), or he may hear kiddush from someone else at the meal, in which case he need not drink from the wine at all. At the Passover seder, one must drink the wine himself.

Law # 142

Both kiddush at night and day must be said in the place where the meal is to be eaten, as it says "You called Shabbat, a pleasure" (Isaiah 58/13), 'pleasure' being the Shabbat meal. If someone made kiddush in a different house or in a courtyard, and even if at the time he had in mind to eat the meal elsewhere, kiddush must be repeated in the place of the meal.

Law # 143

If someone can see the place where he made kiddush from the place where he is eating the meal, then his kiddush is valid. This is true even if the two locations are different houses, and he can see into even just part of place he made kiddush through a window. However, if a major throughway passes between the two buildings, then this law may not apply. Also, this law may not apply if someone closed the window, so that one can no longer see into the other building.

Law # 144

If someone made kiddush in one room of a house intending to eat the meal there, and then went to a different room or loft before eating the required amount of bread to establish a meal, he should repeat kiddush. If however, when he made kiddush, he had in mind to change rooms, he does not need to repeat kiddush (although it is better not to do this in any case). If one made kiddush in one part of the room and later unexpectedly moved to eat in a different part of the room, he does not need to repeat kiddush, because it is all the same room (but this too is not recommended.)

Law # 145

Even a sukkah which is within or part of someone's house (as in an open courtyard or porch) and has its own independent walls which separate the house area from the sukkah area, is still NOT considered a separate room because the sukkah's walls are not built for their own use, but rather for the sake of the mitzvah. Therefore, if someone made kiddush in the house and then was moved to the sukkah, or vice versa, he need not repeat kiddush in the new location. However, if the sukkah is outside of the house and the house's walls separate the two areas, and even if the house's door opens into the sukkah, this follows the rule of a person moving from 'room to room'. And if the space of the courtyard separates between the house and the sukkah, this follows the rule of moving from 'house to house'. {Note: the above instances refer to situations in which the person made kiddush and then changed places without first eating the halachically required amount and type of food.}

Law # 146

If one made kiddush in one house with the expectation to eat somewhere else, and subsequently ate in the house where he made kiddush, he need not repeat kiddush.

Law # 147

One must eat immediately after making kiddush. If someone did not intend to eat right after kiddush, and did not do so, even if it was only a short amount of time, he must repeat kiddush when he does decide to eat. The point is to eat as quickly as possible after kiddush; however, pauses for preparing the meal are not considered an interruption. If in between making kiddush and eating, one was unexpectedly interrupted and required to do something else unrelated to the meal, he does not need to repeat kiddush before eating. Also, if between kiddush and eating one completely left the premises, he must repeat kiddush. If someone made kiddush not intending to eat right away, but did so anyway, he does not need to repeat kiddush.

Law #148

Regarding the law to make kiddush in the place where the meal is to be eaten: this does NOT require finishing the entire meal in that place. It is sufficient to eat enough of a grain product {(hamotzi (bread) or mezonot (product of the five grains)} to say the after-blessing (a kza'is b'chday achilat pras-about an ounce of food eaten in no more than a few moments); or drink a rivi'is (86g) of wine in addition to the ½ rivi'is of wine required for kiddush obligations, in order to establish a meal. If one does so, kiddush need not be repeated upon eating elsewhere. Eating fruits, vegetables, and drinking other drinks do not release one from repeating kiddush.

Law #149

One may make kiddush for other people, even if he will not partake of their meal. This is permitted because those that hear kiddush, will be eating in that place. If someone made kiddush at his Shabbat table, and his neighbor who was sitting at his own Shabbat table next-door heard the kiddush, the kiddush is valid-as long as both the recite-er and the listener intended for the kiddush to apply.

Laws 150-195

Laws 196-219

Laws 220-240

Laws 241-309


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