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The Kiddush Cup: Blessing the Wine

The word “kiddush” is actually an Aramaic word that means “holy” or “sanctification”. The Kiddush ritual involves making a specific blessing over a cup of wine at the beginning of Shabbat and before Jewish holidays.


The Kiddush began as a way to separate the drinking of wine on the Sabbath and holidays from regular days. At one point in history water was generally not safe to drink; therefore, the daily beverage was wine. Saying the Kiddush blessing over the wine was a way to remember and honor the sanctity of the Sabbath. Furthermore, the decorated goblet used to hold the Sabbath or holiday wine and was yet another way to differentiate and honor the special days that honor G-d. This decorated goblet is the Jewish Kiddush cup that we use today for the wine blessing.


The Kiddush Ritual


The Kiddush ritual is truly inspirational and makes the already special time of the Sabbath and holidays even more special. The Jewish Kiddush cup is filled with wine. Traditionally, the “head of the household” recites the Kiddush blessing over the wine. The Evev Shabbat (Friday evening) Kiddush begins with reciting Genesis 2:1-3 and ending with the blessing, “Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe Who creates the fruit of the vine. Amen.” Genesis 2:1-3 acknowledges G-d’s creation and we are supposed to rest on the seventh day just as G-d did. Once the blessing is recited, everyone takes a sip of wine from the Kiddush cup.


The Jewish Kiddush Cup


To properly honor the Kiddush ritual the decorated goblet, the Kiddush cup, is used to hold the wine. A traditional Jewish Kiddush cup must hold at least a “revi’it” of liquid. A revi’it is approximately 3.3 fluid ounces or 100 milliliters of liquid. As far as the material for the Kiddush cup, there is no rules however, silver is the most common and traditional material. The cup should be decorated in some way as it needs to be different than an everyday cup.


The Kiddush is a beautiful tradition that only furthers our commitment to remember and keep the Sabbath. The distinctive use of the Kiddush cup reminds us that the Sabbath is a special day. It is a day of rest and a time to connect with our faith.


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