Shabbat Inspiration

Date Uploaded: 
Tuesday 14th September 2021

All of us like to commemorate special occasions such as birthdays, bar and bat mitzvah, weddings and anniversaries. We search for interesting and creative ways to mark the dates and celebrate in style. We make speeches and toasts to emphasize what we are celebrating and its significance. 

This is exactly the point of Kiddush – it’s a declaration or a testimony that today is Shabbat commemorating two crucial events in our history; God's creation of the world and His taking our people out of Egypt. This idea is expressed in the Ten Commandments: 

Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.[i] 

We perform this act of remembrance with Kiddush at the beginning of Shabbat, again after Shabbat morning prayers and finally as Shabbat departs, as we bid it farewell with Havdalah.[ii] 

The rabbis felt that these acts of remembrance should take place with a cup of wine. While other religions teach abstinence from wine because it can lead to drunkenness and degrading behaviour, Judaism teaches that in moderation; almost everything can and should be sanctified. For us, wine, is an essential symbol of happiness.

Tips for Kiddush making

  • Ideally, one should make Kiddush immediately on returning from Shul.
  • One should make Kiddush over good wine. It does not have to be special Kiddush wine or grape juice, but it should be certified as kosher.
  • A Kiddush cup should be large and beautiful and filled to the brim
  • There are different customs about standing and sitting for Kiddush.  This is because Kiddush fulfils two roles. It is the time when we testify to God’s creation of the world, so like witnesses in courts of law, we should stand for it. But Kiddush is also a moment when we designate the table at which we will eat our meal and for that it makes sense to sit. Different communities have their own practices regarding this. A common practice is to stand from the beginning of Kiddush and to sit just before making the blessing for wine or just before drinking the wine. The predominant British-Jewish custom is to stand all the way through.
  • Ø The person making Kiddush should drink a large mouthful of wine immediately after he makes Kiddush. It is not essential for everyone present to drink some wine, though it is nice if they can.
  • Ø For a video showing how to make Kiddush through to the eating of the Challah, please go to (also see pages 314-316)

[i] Exodus 20: 8

[ii] Rambam, Laws of Shabbat, 29: 1