Kiddush, sanctification, is the prayer said over wine and/or grape juice through which Jews proclaim the uniqueness of Shabbat. Reciting or hearing Kiddush is a Shabbat obligation for all adult Jews.

The Friday night Kiddush contains verses from Genesis describing the Sabbath of Creation, followed by the blessing over wine, and closes with a blessing affirming the sanctification of Shabbat.

The blessing is recited while holding the kiddush cup in the right hand. (See Blessing Below)

The person reciting the Kiddush then drinks from the wine and distributes it so that everyone present can actively participate in the mitzvah. The actual obligation, however, is fulfilled by everyone simply hearing the Kiddush recited.

There are various customs regarding standing or sitting for the recitation of the Kiddush. Some people stand throughout the entire Kiddush, while others stand only for the first paragraph and sit when saying the blessing over the wine and the blessing sanctifying Shabbat.

It was evening and it was morning, the sixth day. The heavens and the earth were finished, with all their complement. On the seventh day, G-d had completed His work which He had undertaken, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had been doing. Then G-d blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all His creative work, which G-d had brought into being to fulfill its purpose.

Blessed are You L-rd, our G-d, Ruler of the world, Creator of the fruit of the vine.
Blessed are You L-rd, our G-d, Ruler of the world, who made us holy with His commandments and favored us, and gave us His holy Shabbat, in love and favor, to be our heritage, as a reminder of the Creation. It is the foremost day of the holy festivals marking the exodus from Egypt. For out of all nations You chose us and made us holy, and You gave us Your holy Shabbat, in love and favor, as our heritage. Blessed are You, L-rd, Who sanctifies the Shabbat.
Va’yehee erev va’yehee vo’ker yom ha’shee’shee, va’y’choo’loo ha’shah’ma’yim v’ha’ah’retz v’chol tz’vah’ahm. Va’y’chahl Eh’lo’him ba’yom ha’sh’vee’ee m’lach’to ah’sher ah’sah, va’yish’boht ba’yom ha’sh’vee’ee mee’kol m’lach’toh ah’sher ah’sah. Va’y’vah’rech Eh’lo’him et yom ha’sh’vee’eeh va’y’kah’daysh oh’toh, kee vo shah’vaht mee’kol m’lach’toh ah’sher bah’rah Eh’lo’him la’ah’soht.
Sah’v’ree mah’rah’nahn v’rah’bah’nahn v’rah’boh’tai: Ba’ruch Ah’tah Ah’doh’nai Eh’lo’hay’noo Melech ha’oh’lahm bo’ray p’ree ha’gah’fen.
Ba’ruch Ah’tah Ah’doh’nai Eh’lo’hay’nu Melech ha’o’lam ah’sher kidishanu b’mitz’vo’tahv v’rah’tzah va’noo v’Shabbat kawd’sho b’ah’hah’vah oo’v’rah’tzohn hin’chee’lah’noo zee’kah’rohn l’mah’ah’say v’ray’sheet, kee hoo yom t’chee’lah l’mik’rah’ay ko’desh zay’cher lee’tzee’aht Mitz’ra’yeem, kee vah’noo vah’char’tah v’oh’tah’noo kee’dahsh’tah mee’kol ha’ah’meem, v’shabbat kawd’sh’chah b’ah’ha’vah oo’v’rah’tzohn hin’chal’tah’noo. Ba’ruch Ah’tah Ah’doh’nai m’kah’daysh ha’Shabbat.

After Kiddush, the celebrants at the meal wash their hands. This is not meant to be a hygienic washing of one’s hands with soap and water, but rather a ritual washing — a sanctification, if you will. A cup is filled with water which is poured twice over the right hand, then twice over the left hand. (Some have the custom of pouring 3 times over each hand.) The entire hand up to the wrist, with all jewelry removed, should be rinsed and a blessing recited as the hands are dried. There should be no talking between the washing of hands and eating the bread because one washes in order to eat bread, and there should be no interruption between these related actions.

Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us in His commandments and commanded us to wash our hands.
Ba’ruch Ah’tah Ah’doh’nai Eh’lo’hay’nu Melech ha’o’lam ah’sher kidishanu b’mitz’vo’tav v’tzee’vanu al n’tee’laht ya’da’yim.


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