of the Rabbinical Assembly in Israel


Bet Midrash Virtuali



If one recited kiddush but spoke before drinking [the wine] he must repeat the benediction Boré peri ha-gefen, but there is no need to repeat [the whole of] the kiddush. The same rule applies if the goblet is spilled before he drinks from it: he must bring another goblet [of wine] and recite over it the benediction Boré peri ha-gefen, but he does not have to repeat the kiddush.


The paragraph we are discussing in this shiur is very straightforward and will require little explanation. A general rule concerning berakhot that are connected with an action of some kind is that the benediction must immediately precede whichever act is associated with that blessing. Therefore, if the blessing itself is separated from its associated action by some extraneous occurrence it has become a berakhah levatalah and the benediction must be repeated and be followed by the action, whatever it is.

However, this general rule should not be taken to illogical extremes. For example, if a certain blessing is part of a series of blessings that are inter-connected, the other blessings do not constitute an interruption. When we recite havdalah after Shabbat we first recite the blessing over the wine but do not drink the wine; the blessing over spices follows (and we savour their fragrance immediately); in its turn this blessing is followed by the blessing over the havdalah light (and we 'use' it immediately); and then follows the text of the actual havdalah blessing. Only then do we drink the wine. But since all these benedictions are inter-connected they do not constitute an interruption between the blessing over wine and the drinking of the wine.

When we recite kiddush on Friday night the blessing over wine is separated from the drinking of the wine by the text of kiddush itself. But since the two are obviously inter-connected the kiddush does not constitute an interruption between the berakhah over wine and the drinking of the wine.

However, saying anything other than the text of the kiddush berakhah in all probability would constitute an interruption and thus invalidate the original berakhah so that it must be repeated. (It is true that one could imagine certain circumstances in which a spoken interruption would be so intimately connected with the actual blessing or the drinking of the wine that it would not qualify as an interruption; however, my imagination cannot extend that far!) In such circumstances it is only the blessing over the wine that must be repeated and not the whole of the kiddush.

A different form of invalidation would be if the wine was spilled before it could be drunk. Inevitably, the blessing was not followed by its associated action because there was now no wine to drink! It seems to me that if only some of the wine was spilled and there was still enough wine left in the goblet to fulfill the minimal requirement of 'a cheekful' (as we learned in the previous shiur) then one should drink and not repeat the blessing. However, if some of the wine was spilled before or during the recitation of kiddush then the whole of kiddush must be repeated because, as we have already learned, kiddush must be recited over a goblet that is brimful.


In Shabbat 030 we discussed the issue of whether we may wash our hands before kiddush. Nehama Barbiru asks:

Does Rabbi Karo accept washing hands first and then Kiddush over wine followed by benediction over the bread? And, regarding the example of a big group, does the person saying the Kiddush also wash his hands before reciting Kiddush?

I respond:

The correct order in such circumstances is first to wash the hands, then to recite kiddush over wine and then to recite the benediction over the ĥallah. Even under normal circumstances many people do not bring the ĥallot to the table until they are to be used; it seems to me that this should certainly be the case if the blessing over bread is to follow kiddush over wine immediately. There is no difference between one person and many people: the person reciting kiddush may also wash his hands before kiddush.

In connection with the same matter Elro'i Sadeh writes:

I would like to add that it is still practised by Askenazi Jews from Dutch & German descent to wash the hands ritually before the Kiddush and straight afterwards one continues with making the blessing on the Challot.

Elro'i also has a comment concerning my use of the terms 'oriental' and 'occidental' in connection with certain customs. He writes:

You mentioned in your explanation that Yosef Karo reflects predominantly the custom of 'oriental' Jews [Sefaradi] and the notes that Moshe Isserles added to the Shulchan Arukh reflect the different customs of 'occidental' Jews [Ashkenazi]". However, I don't think this is a correct division. First of all, Oriental Jews are/were those who indeed live(d) in the Arabian peninsula, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Persia, etc; however those descendants from Spanish Jewish exiles after the great expulsion in 1492 were never called Oriental Jews, but simply Sepharadim. Secondly, even among the Sepharadim there is a division which calls Jews from Marocco or Spanish & Portuguese Jews from Holland, England and the USA 'Western' (in comparison to their 'oriental' brethren), and certainly not Oriental Jews, from whom they differ in a lot of customs. Even among Ashkenazim used to exist a division among oriental & occidental (Ashkenazi) Jews. As a native Dutch Jew I heard that Dutch & German Jews would call Jews from Poland or Russia 'Ostjuden' or oriental Jews! I just thought, it might be wise to mention this, as divisions are not so clear cut as they may seem.

I respond:

Thank you for making this matter clear to everybody. What you write is, of course, correct. However, in Israel today it is a widespread custom to refer to all Jews who follow Sefaradi customs as 'oriental' and those who follow Ashkenazi customs and 'occidental'. Even though this is technically innacurate, as Elro'i points out, it is much more convenient. Perhaps in future I should just use the terms 'Ashkenazi' and 'Sefaradi'. But I am often concerned that some readers will not understand and then I shall have to add a long historical explanation which will just interrupt the flow of the shiur.