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Congregation Bet Yosef , Jerusalem

Kiddush - sitting or standing by Rabbi Roselaar

This article was written by Rabbi Roselaar for the United Synagogue in London.  Rabbi Roselaar is the son of Leonard and Perl Roselaar, long time members of our synagogue.


By Rabbi Daniel Roselaar, Belmont United Synagogue

After the wine has been poured, the kiddush cup should be lifted up with both hands and then held in the right hand whilst the brachot are recited. (Left-handed people hold the cup in their left hand.) It is good practice to glance at the burning candles whilst saying the introductory Vayechulu  paragraph, and to focus on the wine during the subsequent brachot.

Chassidic and Kabbalistic practise, following the custom of the Arizal, is to stand for kiddush. This is because Shabbat is compared to a bride, and the bridal wedding brachot are recited standing. However, most normative halachic authorities recommend that one should sit whilst reciting kiddush  and this appears to have been the practice of the Rishonim (some of whom mention specifically that in Shul it is proper for the Chazan to stand when saying kiddush, thus implying that this is not the case at home). According to the Kolbo (a 13th century halachic compendium) this is because kiddush should form a prelude to the meal which is eaten sitting, whilst according to Tosafot and the Vilna Gaon it is so that those who are listening should be more formally defined as a halachic group, rather than standing and lolling around. (Thus, according to the latter view one who is reciting kiddush alone may stand, whereas according to the former view he should nevertheless sit.)

Regarding the Vayechulu paragraph, the Shulchan Aruch advises that it is proper to stand whilst saying it since it is a form of testimony about the creation of the world and testimony should always be presented standing, but the Rama deems this practice unnecessary, since the passage has already been recited standing in Shul as part of the service. However, even the Rama suggests gently rising whilst saying the opening words Yom Hashishi Vayechulu Hashamayim, since the initial letters of these words spell the Divine tetragrammaton.


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