Kiddush

  • Rav Yosef Zvi Rimon
Kiddush – Part 1
Based on a shiur by Rav Yosef Zvi Rimon
Translated by David Silverberg
 
The Source of the Kiddush Obligation
 
     The central question concerning the basis of the mitzva of kiddush is whether it constitutes a Torah obligation or was instituted later, by Chazal.  All agree that the crux of kiddush – verbally declaring the sanctity of Shabbat when it arrives and when it leaves – is required according to Torah.  The question arises concerning the obligation of kiddush al ha-yayin – reciting this verbal declaration over a cup of wine.
 
     The Gemara in Masekhet Nazir (3b-4a) addresses the issue of whether a nazir, who has taken upon himself the prohibition against drinking wine, recites kiddush over wine.  The Gemara appears to say that the state of nezirut cannot take effect with regard to Shabbat, for the person "is already sworn from Mount Sinai," meaning, he already bears a Torah obligation to drink wine as part of kiddush on Shabbat.  This reading of the Gemara, adopted by the Mefaresh there in Nazir, would indicate that the Torah obligation of kiddush requires drinking wine.
 
     Tosefot, however, reject this reading of the Gemara and cite Rabbenu Tam as offering a different explanation.  According to Rabbenu Tam, this line in the Gemara should be read as a rhetorical question, rather than an affirmative statement.  The Gemara means that certainly the Torah itself does not obligate one to drink wine on Shabbat, because this obligation originates from Chazal.  Tosefot then pose a third possibility, namely, that the Torah requires reciting kiddush over wine; drinking the wine, however, is required by force of rabbinic enactment.
 
     In practice, we generally assume that the obligation to recite kiddush OVER WINE is rabbinic in origin, and not a Torah requirement.  The following sources explicitly adopt this position: Rambam, Hilkhot Shabbat (29); Ramban, commentary to Shemot 20:8; Rashba, responsa, 4:109; Magen Avraham, 271:1; Mishna Berura, 271:2.
 
     In light of this ruling, the question arises as to whether or not one fulfills the Torah obligation of kiddush by reciting the arvit service on Friday night.  After all, in this prayer we do, in fact, declare the sanctity of Shabbat, and, as we said, the Torah obligation of kiddush does not require wine.  Indeed, the Riaz and other Rishonim maintain that one fulfills the Torah obligation through the recitation of arvit.
 
     The Minchat Chinukh (mitzva 31), by contrast, argues that the recitation of arvit does not satisfy the Torah obligation of kiddush.  The Gemara in Masekhet Pesachim (117b) states explicitly that one must make mention of the Exodus in kiddush in order to fulfill the obligation.  The Bei'ur Halakha elaborates on this point and suggests that perhaps one satisfies this condition through the paragraphs recited during arvit before shemoneh esrei, which indeed speak about the Exodus from Egypt.  The Minchat Chinukh adds another reason why one might not fulfill the Torah obligation of kiddush through the recitation of arvit, an approach taken by the Mishna Berura, as well (271:2).  They claim that since the worshipper intends on reciting kiddush later at home, we consider him as having explicit intention not to fulfill the kiddush obligation during arvit, and he therefore fulfills the mitzva only when he recites kiddush.
 
     As for the final halakha, the Magen Avraham rules that one does fulfill the Torah obligation by reciting arvit.  The Bei'ur Halakha raises a number of objections to this position and concludes that one should not rely on the Magen Avraham's ruling.  Thus, the Mishna Berura writes that a minor should not recite kiddush on behalf of an adult even if the adult had already recited arvit, since the adult still bears a Torah obligation.  (Minors are obligated in mitzvot only by force of rabbinic enactment, and therefore cannot perform a mitzva on behalf of an adult who is obligated on the level of Torah law.)  The Mishna Berura adds that one should explicitly have in mind during arvit not to fulfill the Torah obligation of kiddush, because clearly this mitzva is performed at its optimum standard through the recitation of kiddush over wine.
 
     According to the view that one can fulfill the Torah obligation by reciting arvit, a difficult problem arises concerning the woman's obligation.  Women are included in the Torah obligation of kiddush, and thus after her husband recites arvit, and now bears only the rabbinic obligation to recite kiddush over wine, he cannot, perhaps, recite kiddush on her behalf to fulfill her Torah obligation.  At first glance, we can easily dismiss this concern in light of the principle of "kol Yisrael arevim zeh la-zeh" – all Jews are responsible for one another, which establishes that one can fulfill an obligation on behalf of another even after he has himself fulfilled the given mitzva.  However, the Rosh writes in Masekhet Berakhot (20b) that the principle of "kol Yisrael arevim" does not apply to women.  In light of this, the Dagul Mei-revava rules that a man cannot recite kiddush on behalf of his wife if he has already fulfilled the Torah obligation of kiddush.
 
     Rabbi Akiva Eiger strongly rejects this ruling of the Dagul Mei-revava, and explains that the Rosh excluded women from the principle of "kol Yisrael arevim" only with respect to mitzvot from which they are exempt.  When it comes, however, to mitzvot that include women, the principle of arevut applies equally to both men and women.  Other Acharonim, including the Peri Megadim (in Eshel Avraham) and Chatam Sofer, rule accordingly, and this is the position adopted by the Mishna Berura (271:4-5).
 
     It thus turns out that a woman indeed fulfills her obligation of kiddush through her husband's recitation.  We might add to this discussion a different ruling of Rabbi Akiva Eiger, that simply extending a Shabbat greeting ("Shabbat Shalom"; "Good Shabbos") fulfills the Torah obligation of kiddush.  Since both men and women presumably extend such a greeting at some point before kiddush, husband and wife have already fulfilled the Torah obligation and now bear only the rabbinic requirement to recite kiddush over wine.
 
The Nature of Kiddush
 
     We find different views among the Rishonim concerning the nature of the mitzva of kiddush.  The Ramban, in his commentary to the Torah, and the Maharam Chalava (in his commentary to Masekhet Pesachim 106a) maintain that this obligation parallels the mitzva of kiddush ha-chodesh (declaring new months) and kiddush ha-yovel (declaring the jubilee year).  In other words, the mitzva of kiddush involves an active sanctification of the day of Shabbat.  The Rambam, by contrast, writes in his Sefer Ha-mitzvot (mitzvat asei 155) that kiddush serves to proclaim the greatness and sanctity of Shabbat that set it apart from the weekdays.  The Sefer Ha-chinukh explains similarly.
 
     This debate could yield several practical ramifications, such as Rabbi Akiva Eiger's position mentioned earlier.  Recall that according to Rabbi Akiva Eiger, a mere Shabbat greeting suffices as far as the Torah obligation of kiddush is concerned.  But does a "Shabbat Shalom" greeting indeed meet the criteria of kiddush?  One might argue that according to the Ramban's perspective, that kiddush on Shabbat parallels kiddush ha-chodesh, then "Shabbat Shalom" would not suffice as a means of formally sanctifying the Shabbat.  If, however, kiddush serves solely to proclaim the unique quality of Shabbat, then there is certainly room to suggest that one accomplishes this by extending a "Shabbat Shalom" greeting.
 
The Proper Times for Kiddush
 
     The Gemara comments in Masekhet Berakhot (27b):
 
"Rav would recite the Shabbat prayer while it was still Erev Shabbat… Would he recite kedusha [= kiddush] over the cup [of wine] or not recite kedusha over the cup?  Come and hear, that Rav Nachman said in the name of Shemuel: One may recite the Shabbat prayer while it is still Erev Shabbat, and he recites kedusha over the cup.  Halakha follows his view."
 
The Gemara thus permits reciting arvit and kiddush before sundown on Erev Shabbat.  What is the rationale underlying this halakha?
 
     One view among the Rishonim maintains that the Gemara here follows the position of Rabbi Yehuda, that one may recite arvit as early as pelag ha-mincha (one and one-quarter Halakhic hours before sundown).  According to this approach, it is questionable whether practical Halakha would permit following Rav's custom.  Most Rishonim, however, allow reciting arvit after pelag ha-mincha on Erev Shabbat, and they indicate that this ruling applies even on the level of le-chatekhila (under optimal circumstances).  This position emerges clearly from the Rambam in Hilkhot Shabbat (29:11), Tosefot in Masekhet Pesachim (99b) and other sources.  Indeed, the Beit Yoseif (O.C. 271) adopts this view as normative Halakha.  But why do these Rishonim permit reciting arvit and kiddush before sundown?
 
     The simplest explanation would be to attribute this ruling to the concept of tosefet Shabbat – that one can (and in fact must) add some time onto Shabbat.  Therefore, one may accept Shabbat even before sundown, and thus, since Shabbat has set in, he can naturally recite arvit and kiddush.  Rabbenu Yerucham indeed offers this explanation.  However, this approach does not explain the Rambam's codification of this halakha permitting an early recitation of arvit and kiddush.  For the Rambam makes no mention of an obligation of tosefet Shabbat, and it thus turns out that in his view, one may recite arvit and kiddush before sundown, even though he has yet to accept Shabbat.  How could this be?
 
     To answer this question, let us consider the following halakha in the Rambam's Hilkhot Shabbat (29:11):
 
"One has the option of reciting kiddush over a cup during the daytime of Erev Shabbat, even though Shabbat has yet to begin… for the mitzva of 'zekhira' [mentioning Shabbat, i.e. kiddush] is to recite it either at the time of its [Shabbat's] onset and departure, or somewhat earlier."
 
Recall that the Rambam understands the purpose of kiddush as a proclamation of the greatness of Shabbat.  Consistent with this approach, the Rambam allows conducting this proclamation even a bit earlier than the beginning or end of Shabbat, and one need not recite kiddush specifically once Shabbat has begun.
 
     How early may one recite kiddush?  The Rosh holds that one may recite kiddush as early as pelag ha-mincha.  The Bei'ur Halakha addresses this issue and notes that perhaps only Rabbi Yehuda, who permits reciting arvit after pelag ha-mincha, would allow reciting kiddush already at that point.  The opposing view would allow one to recite kiddush only just prior to the onset of Shabbat.  The Bei'ur Halakha adds that although one may recite kiddush before Shabbat begins, he must ensure to begin the Shabbat meal earlier than a half-hour before nightfall, because at that point, one may not begin a meal due to the obligation of shema.
 
     In light of everything we have seen, it turns out that during the summer months, for example, one may recite arvit and kiddush before sundown so long as he satisfies the following three conditions:
  1. He must recite mincha before pelag ha-mincha.  (The halakhot of tefila require that one who recites arvit before sundown must recite mincha before pelag ha-mincha.)
  2. He must recite kiddush and begin the meal immediately after services, without delay.
  3. He must remember to repeat the shema after nightfall.
 
Additionally, the Magen Avraham notes that one must eat a kezayit of bread after nightfall in order to fulfill the obligation of eating three meals on Shabbat.
 
To be continued next week. (click here to read part 2)