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Kiddush facts for kids

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Sterling silver kiddush cup

Kiddush is a blessing said by Jews at the start of Shabbat and holiday meals. The term is also used to refer to a light meal served in the synagogue after the long Shabbat and holiday morning prayers. The word comes from a Hebrew root meaning "holy".

Kiddush at the Shabbat meals

Kiddush cup jerusalem
Hand-carved sterling silver kiddush cup

There are many things Jews do to celebrate Shabbat see Shabbat (Celebrating Shabbat). The minimum way to celebrate is to say the blessing "Blessed are You, God, Who makes Shabbat holy."

The Talmud adds that the blessing should be said with a cup of wine. Because of this, the Friday evening meal in a Jewish home starts with a ceremony to say this blessing over a cup of wine. In traditional homes, the blessing is said in the Hebrew language.

Flat-bottomed kiddush cup

There is a different version of Kiddush for the Shabbat morning (or noon) meal. This ceremony makes the meal feel more special. For the morning Kiddush, a person says verses from the Torah about Shabbat. These verses are usually from Exodus 31:16-17 and Exodus 20:7-10. The person ends with a same blessing over the wine.

Most Jews do not say Kiddush at the third Shabbat meal. However, Maimonides ruled that they should do so. The text for this Kiddush includes Exodus 16:25. That verse is the source of the law to have three meals on Shabbat.

Kiddush on important Jewish holidays

Kiddush is said on these Jewish holidays:

Sterling silver kiddush cup

The Kiddush cup

Jews usually use a fancy cup for Kiddush. The most common material for this cup is silver. Other materials are also used. These include ceramic, glass and wood. The most important part of the custom is for the cup to be special and unusual in honor of the blessing.

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Kiddush Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.