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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

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Ḳiddush ha-Shem
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Ceremony and prayer by which the holiness of the Sabbath or of a festival is proclaimed. For the Sabbath the Scripture imposes this duty in the words: "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy," which, according to Shab. 86a, means that its holiness must be recognized in speech during the day. It is a positive duty and connected with a set time; yet women as well as men are bound by it; for the "remember" of Exodus 20:8 is coextensive with the "keep" of Deuteronomy 5:12 (see Ber. 20a). The middle benediction of the prayer ends with the words: "Blessed . . . who sanctifieth the Sabbath; blessed . . . who sanctifieth Israel and the seasons . . .; blessed . . . the King over all the earth who sanctifieth Israel and the day of Memorial"; this is deemed a fulfilment of the Scriptural command as to the Sabbath (Ber. 52b). However, under an old custom, recognized by the Mishnah (Ber. 8:1), the Sabbath and the festivals are sanctified in another cheerful and impressive way—over a glass of wine before the evening meal, even though the benediction has already been recited in the prayer. The drinking of the wine, with the recitation of the accompanying words, constitutes the ceremony of Ḳiddush, in which husband, wife, children, and dependents take part together. According to Ber. 33a, the origin of the Ḳiddush can be traced back to the time of the Great Synagogue; indeed, from the controversies between the schools of Shammai and Hillel on various points connected with the Ḳiddush, it is clearly seen that the ceremony is very old. For Passover evening the Yemenite prayer-book has a different Ḳiddush, reproduced in the "Eben Sappir" of the traveler Jacob Safir.

Substitutes for Wine.

Although the Talmud (Pes. 107a) declares strong drink other than wine improper for the Ḳiddush, such drink, of necessity, takes the place of wine to a great extent in northeastern Europe. It is regarded, however, as more dignified, where wine can not be had, to pronounce the Ḳiddush over the bread (see Shulḥan 'Aruk, Oraḥ Ḥayyim, 271, 26) than to substitute beer or brandy. At the beginning of Sabbath two whole loaves of bread are laid down in memory of the double measure of manna that was gathered on Friday (Shab. 117b), with a white cloth under and over them (Oraḥ Ḥayyim,271, 9). There is no true Ḳiddush except at the place of the meal (implied in Ber. 8:2, and expressly asserted by Samuel in Pes. 101a). However, there is a custom (which Samuel reproves) of pronouncing the Ḳiddush at the end of the evening service in the synagogue. Abudarham, in his work on the services, in the chapter on the beginning of Sabbath, wonders how this custom ever took root, and quotes Hai Gaon, the last of the Geonim, against it. It was defended on the ground that at one time travelers were housed and took supper in a room adjoining the synagogue, and that thus the Ḳiddush was really celebrated near the place of the meal; the custom persisted among the Ashkenazim because no one would take the responsibility of abolishing it, though the occasion for it had long ceased.

The Benedictions.

The Ḳiddush for the Sabbath is made up of two benedictions: that for the wine (or bread, when wine is not used) and that for the day. Following the opinion of Hillel's school, that for the wine is said first: "Blessed be Thou, O Lord, our God, King of the World, the Creator of the fruit of the vine. Blessed be thou, O Lord, our God, King of the World, who hast sanctified us by Thy commandments and wast pleased with us, and hast given us for a heritage, in love and favor, Thy holy Sabbath, a memorial of the work of creation. For it precedes all the holy convocations in memory of the going forth from Egypt. Thou hast indeed chosen us above all nations, and hast given us, in love and favor, Thy holy Sabbath for a heritage. Blessed be Thou, O Lord, who hallowest the Sabbath."

Before these benedictions it is customary to recite Genesis 2:1-3, the account of the Sabbath of Creation, in obedience to the saying of the Talmud (Shab. 119b) that one who recites it makes himself, in a sense, a partner with God in the work of creation. In the German ritual these verses are preceded in a low voice by the last words of Genesis 1: "And the evening and the morning were the sixth day." The indirect reference to the departure from Egypt is probably based on Pes. 117b, though this is primarily meant for the Ḳiddush on the Passover. On the three festivals the benediction for the day takes this form, the words in brackets being inserted on the Sabbath: "Blessed . . . , who hast chosen us from every tribe and lifted us over every tongue; Thou gavest us, O Lord, our God [in love Sabbaths for rest,] set times for gladness, feasts, and seasons for joy, [this Sabbath day and] this . . . day of the feast of unleavened bread, the season of our liberation . . . in memory of our going forth from Egypt; for Thou hast chosen us, and hast hallowed us, and hast given us [in love and favor] in gladness and joy [the Sabbath and] Thy holy set times for a heritage; blessed be Thou, O Lord, who hallowest [the Sabbath and] Israel and the seasons." (On Pentecost, the Feast of Booths, and the eighth day of Solemn Assembly necessary changes in wording are made.) On New-Year's night the benediction proceeds thus: "Blessed . . . Thou gavest us . . . this Day of Memorial, a day of sounding the shofar, a holy convocation, in memory of the going forth from Egypt; and Thy word is true and standeth forever; blessed be Thou, O Lord, King over all the earth, who hallowest [the Sabbath and] the Day of Memorial."

On all the festivals other than the last days of Passover, the celebrant thus gives thanks for having reached the joyful time: "Blessed . . . who hast let us live and sustained us, and made us reach this season." When the festival night follows the Sabbath, the Ḳiddush embraces two other benedictions by way of "separation" ("habdalah") between the higher sanctity of the Sabbath and the lower one of the festival, the place of these benedictions being before the giving of thanks for having reached the day: "Blessed be . . . , Creator of the light-rays of the fire. Blessed be . . . , who distinguishest between holy and profane, between light and darkness, between Israel and the nations, between the seventh day and the six work-days. Between the holiness of the Sabbath and the holiness of the holy day Thou hast distinguished, and Thou hast distinguished and hallowed Thy people Israel in Thine own holiness. Blessed be Thou, O Lord, who distinguishest between Holy and Holy." See see HABDALAH.

The full text of this benediction is not given in the Talmud, but its nature is discussed (Pes. 102b, 105a). The idea of distinguishing between Holy and Holy is derived from the veil in the Temple which divided the Holy from the Holy of Holies. After reciting the Ḳiddush the master of the house sips from the cup, and then passes it to his wife and to the others at the table; then all wash their hands, and the master of the house blesses the bread, cuts it, and passes a morsel to each person at the table.

Beside the Ḳiddush at the evening meal there is another of later origin and of less importance, called, by inversion, the "Great Ḳiddush." It consists simply of the recitation of some Bible verses referring to the Sabbath or the current festival, and of the benediction for wine, and precedes the first morning meal (see Oraḥ Ḥayyim, 271-272). Regarding the origin of the Ḳiddush LITURGY.

L. N. D.
Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Ḳiddush'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tje/​a/a2iddush.html. 1901.
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