A Special Bar Mitzvah Brocha

will shortly see a midrash that describes the childhood of Yaakov and
Eisav, and how they went their separate ways after they turned bar mitzvah.
Certainly, the most appropriate week to discuss:

#1: When?

does a father recite the brochashe’petorani”?

#2: What?

does this brocha mean?

#3: Why?

do we not recite this brocha at a bas mitzvah?

#4: Whether?

an adoptive father recite this brocha at his son’s bar mitzvah?


a bochur habar mitzvah receives his aliyah to the Torah, his
father recites the following passage: Boruch she’petorani mei’onsho shel zeh.
We will be discussing many questions about this passage, including:

does it mean?

it a brocha or a prayer?

does it have such an impersonal text? The brocha does not even say that
the bar mitzvah is his child!

With Sheim and Malchus

the Sefer Maharil, an early and highly respected source for accepted Ashkenazi
halachic practice, we find the following:

the Maharil’s son turned bar mitzvah and read from the Torah, the Maharil
recited a brocha, Boruch Atah Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’olam asher petorani
mei’onsho shel zeh.
Furthermore, we find this brocha in the works of
the Mordechai with Sheim and malchus” (Sefer Maharil, Hilchos
Kerias HaTorah
). Thus, the Maharil rules that there is a regular brocha,
including the words Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’olam (which is referred to
as sheim umalchus), that is recited by a father when his son reaches the
age of bar mitzvah and demonstrates this by reading from the Torah. It should
be noted that although the Maharil attributes this ruling to an early rishon,
the Mordechai, this ruling is not found in any extant editions of the Mordechai,
although, as we will soon see, we do find it quoted in other authorities of the
same era and school.

mention a custom that the father should place his hand on his son’s head when
he recites the brocha, although I have never seen this in practice
(mentioned in the Meshivas Nefesh [Vayikra 9] of R. Yochanan
Luria, a prominent posek in fifteenth-century western Germany).

ruling of the Maharil to recite the brocha of Boruch
with sheim umalchus is quoted by the Rema in his
Darchei Moshe commentary on the Tur (Orach Chayim 225:1),
where he adds the following, “However, I did not find this brocha in the
Gemara, and I find it difficult to recite a brocha that is not
mentioned in the Gemara and in the halachic authorities, although
Bereishis Rabbah mentions it at the beginning of parshas Tolados.


what bothered the Rema is the following statement of the Rosh (Kiddushin
1:41), “We do not find that we recite any brocha that is not mentioned
in the Mishnah, Tosefta, or Gemara.” Thus, the Rema
was concerned that the brocha of Boruch she’petorani was never
established by Chazal, and reciting it with sheim umalchus
constitutes a brocha levatalah, a brocha recited in vain.


Bereishis Rabbah that the Rema quotes says as follows: “‘And the
lads [Yaakov and Eisav] grew up (Bereishis 25:27).’ Rabbi Levi
explained, ‘this can be compared to a hadas and a thorn bush that grew
next to one another. Once they grew and blossomed, the hadas provided
its beautiful fragrance and the thorn bush produced its thorns. Similarly, for
thirteen years, both lads went to yeshivah and came home from yeshivah.
After they turned thirteen, one went to batei midrash and the other went
to houses of idolatry.’ Rabbi Elazar explained, ‘A person is obligated to work
with his son until he turns thirteen years old. After that time, he should
declare, “Boruch she’petorani mei’onsho shel zeh”’” (Bereishis Rabbah
ad loc.

on Shulchan Aruch

his glosses to the Shulchan Aruch, the Rema alludes to what he
wrote in his Darkei Moshe commentary on the Tur and reaches the
same conclusion: “Some say that when one’s son turns bar mitzvah, he should
recite Boruch Atah Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’olam she’petorani mei’onsho
shel zeh
, but it is better to recite it without sheim umalchus” (Orach
225:2). We should note that I found no reference to this brocha
in any Sefardic authorities, until the very late poskim. All the
discussion about reciting it, and whether it should be a full brocha
with sheim umalchus, I found only among the Ashkenazic

Rema’s conclusion that Boruch she’petorani should be
recited without sheim umalchus is followed by most, but not all,
subsequent halachic authorities, including the Derisha, Levush,
Tosafos Yom Tov
(in his Divrei Chamudos commentary on the Rosh,
9:30), Shelah, Magen Avraham, Mishnah Berurah, and the Kaf
. The Kaf Hachayim, a very late authority who quotes many Ashkenazic
sources, is the first Sefardic authority that I saw who makes any
reference at all to the brocha of Boruch she’petorani.

the standard, older editions of the Derisha, his comments on this topic
were omitted by the publisher, since the Derisha there merely quoted the
comments of the Darchei Moshe written by his rebbe, the Rema.
However, the Shelah had this quotation in his edition of the Derisha,
and it is published in the newer editions of the Tur.)

sheim umalchus

far, I have quoted predominantly the majority who rule that Boruch
should be recited without sheim umalchus – in other
words, not as a real brocha. However, there are several major
authorities who rule that one must recite this brocha with sheim
. In their opinion, since a brocha must include sheim
, reciting this brocha without sheim umalchus does
not fulfill the requirement. The Gra, in his comments to the Rema
on Shulchan Aruch, simply states that the decision of the Maharil
to recite the brocha with sheim umalchus is correct. This
approach is subsequently quoted as the primary opinion by both the Chayei
(Klal 65:3) and the Aruch Hashulchan. The Chayei Odom
rules very directly, “One whose son turns bar mitzvah, when he reads the Torah
for the first time, he [the father] should recite the following brocha, Boruch
Atah Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’olam asher petorani mei’onsho shel zeh
.” He
then reviews the discussion of the Rema, adding the following points:

the Bereishis Rabbah does not state explicitly that one should recite
the brocha with sheim umalchus, the Gemara uses the same
abbreviated wording when it means that one should recite a regular brocha
with sheim umalchus.

Chayei Odom then refers to a discussion in which the Maharshal
ruled that we are not to introduce brochos that are not mentioned in the
Gemara, and notes that this includes only brochos that are not
mentioned in midrashim, either. However, a brocha that is
mentioned in a midrash is halachically valid. The Chayei Odom
completes his discussion by noting that his own halachic conclusion (in Klal
8:1) was that reciting a brocha in vain is only a rabbinic prohibition.
Therefore, he concludes that once the Maharil and the Gra both
rule that Boruch she’petorani should be considered a regular brocha,
and we have a source for it in a midrash, then hamevoreich lo hifsid
– one who recites it as a regular brocha does not lose. He notes that
this is despite the fact that the prevalent custom follows the Rema.
Even if Chazal never introduced such a brocha, reciting it would
constitute only a rabbinic violation, and one may rely on the many opinions who
rule that this brocha does exist (safek derabbanan lehakeil).

is interesting to note that the Aruch Hashulchan, who usually follows
accepted custom even when it appears to run against halachic literature,
also rules to recite Boruch she’petorani with sheim umalchus. In
other words, he agrees with the position of the Maharil, Gra and Chayei
, even though the general custom is not to follow that approach.

mentioned above, the Maharil notes that he found this practice recorded
in the Mordechai. We do not have this in our editions of the Mordechai,
but obviously it was in the Maharil’s edition. Furthermore, we do have
this practice mentioned in other sources from the same era and area. For
example, the Tashbeitz Koton, who lived in the same place and time as
the Mordechai (13th century Germany), writes the following:
“In Bereishis Rabbah it says that a person should work with his son
until he turns thirteen. Afterward, he is required to recite Boruch Atah
Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’olam she’petorani mei’onsho shel zeh


the other hand, there are other rishonim who believe that Boruch
should not be treated as a regular brocha. For example,
Rabbeinu Yehonoson, a talmid of the Raavad, cites the text
of the brocha as Boruch Hamakom she’petorani mei’onsho shel zeh,
which, clearly, avoids reciting Hashem’s Name as one does in a brocha
(notes to Rif, Shabbos 55b). We should note that this is not from an Ashkenazic
source, but from Provence. Although today Provence is often referred to as an
area that followed Sefardic custom, that is not truly accurate.
Provence, the area of southern France that borders on the Mediterranean Sea,
was at the time of the rishonim an area that had its own minhagim,
neither Sefardic nor Ashkenazic. It had absorbed from the
traditions and authorities of both areas, yet had developed independently. For
example, they began recital of ve’sein tal umatar on the 7th
of Marcheshvan, which follows neither Sefardic nor Ashkenazic
practice in chutz la’aretz.

does the brocha mean?

this point, I have carefully avoided translating and explaining the words of Boruch
. An early posek, the Levush, upon recording the halachic
discussion germane to the brocha of Boruch she’petorani, states the
following: “The text of this brocha is not clear, since one who
continues in the evil ways of his ancestors can be punished for their misdeeds
for several generations, as the Torah states, pokeid avon avos al banim al
shileishim ve’al ribei’im –
that Hashem will remember the sins of
someone who performed evil to four generations, if the descendants continue the
nefarious practices of their antecedents.”

the Levush understood the brocha to mean that the son is now
exempt from the sins of his father. This means that until bar mitzvah, what
happens to the son is because of the father’s misdeeds, and that, therefore,
the father will be punished for harm that he caused to the son. This is based
on the Gemara (Shabbos 149b) that a person is responsible for
punishment that he caused to someone else. It is also borne out by a statement
in a midrash, concerning the deaths of Machlon and Kilyon, Naomi’s sons,
“Rav Chiya bar Abba said: ‘Until a child turns thirteen, the son is punished
for the sins of his father; afterward, he is punished for his own sins.’”

to the Levush

Tosafos Yom Tov, in his commentary to the Rosh (Divrei
9:30), reviews much of the above material and then challenges the Levush’s
approach to explaining the brocha. He writes, “This approach [of the Levush]
is forced and difficult to reconcile with the words of the brocha. The
intention of the brocha is that, until now, the father was responsible
to educate his child in mitzvos and to have him grow in Torah. If the
father did not fulfill his responsibility, he will be punished for this. Now
that the son has become bar mitzvah, the responsibilities fall on the son
himself, and the father will no longer be punished.” This approach is also
recorded by the Magen Avraham.

should the brocha be recited?

Maharil mentions reciting the brocha when the son receives his
first aliyah. The authorities explain this to mean that he performs a
mitzvah activity that a child cannot perform (Divrei Chamudos; Magen
). Thus, they rule that if the son led the services (davened
in front of the amud), the father should already recite the brocha
at that time, since a child cannot fulfill this mitzvah. One may also argue
that a father should not recite it when his son has been called up to maftir
and read only the maftir and the haftarah, since these activities
can be performed by a minor –  a topic that we will need to address a
different time. However, if the son read a different part of the parsha,
and certainly, if he read the entire parsha, the father can recite Boruch

which category of brochos does this fit?

know that we have birchos hanehenin – brochos of benefit,
including the brochos we recite before and after eating and the brochos
before we smell certain fragrances. We also have brochos of praise,
which include brochos upon seeing or otherwise experiencing wondrous
creations of Hashem, such as the brochos recited when one sees
the sea, sees something unusual, hears thunder, or witnesses lightning. And we
have brochos of prayer, such as davening, tefilas haderech, and
some of the brochos of sheva brochos. Under which heading does
the brocha of Boruch she’petorani fit?

the way the halachic authorities discuss it, it appears that it should
be categorized under the heading of brochos of praise.

no malchus?

the Rema ruled that one should not recite the name of Hashem when
reciting Boruch she’petorani because he was concerned that it might be a
brocha levatalah, why didn’t he suggest the following text:
Boruch Atah Melech Ha’olam she’petorani mei’onsho shel zeh
? Since one is
not reciting the words Hashem and Elokeinu, there is no question
about reciting a brocha levatalah, yet one is reciting a text
closer to the brocha advocated by the Maharil,and this
text includes the concept of malchus.

this question can be asked on the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim
218:9, in a different context. There, the Shulchan Aruch discusses
someone reciting a brocha on a personal miracle that he has experienced,
and it states as follows: “Some say that one should not recite this brocha
unless it was a miracle that was beyond what usually happens in the world; but
on a miracle that is within natural experience, such as, he was endangered by
thieves at night and saved, or something similar, he is not required to recite
a brocha. There are other authorities – who disagree with this [and
require a brocha in this instance also]. Therefore, it is proper to
recite this brocha without sheim umalchus.” The question to be
asked on this ruling of the Shulchan Aruch is that there would be no
question of brocha levatalah should one recite the brocha
with the words Melech Ha’olam, so why does he omit them?

Yosef Chayim Sonnenfeld answers that one does not recite Melech Ha’olam in
these situations so that people will not think that someone fulfills a brocha
by reciting Melech Ha’olam without reciting Hashem’s Name and
Elokeinu (Shu”t Salmas Chayim, Orach Chayim #197).

an impersonal brocha?

did Chazal institute such an impersonal wording for this brocha,
which makes no reference to the fact that the child is his son? I found this
question in the sefer Alei Tamar, authored by Rav Yissochor
Tamar, an eastern European rav who moved to Eretz Yisroel in
1933, where he became a rav in Tel Aviv. He suggests the following: The
father is reciting a brocha that he is thankful that he is no longer
responsible for his son’s sins (if we explain the brocha according to
the Tosafos Yom Tov and the Magen Avraham). This implies that he
thinks that his son will sin, certainly not something he wants to advertise in
his role as father.


don’t we recite Boruch she’petorani when a daughter turns bas mitzvah?
This question is raised by some of the later poskim, and I found two
quite variant answers. The Pri Megodim explains that since min
a father has the ability to marry off his daughter, in which case he
would no longer be responsible for her education and not be punished for her aveiros,
Chazal did not institute a brocha (Eishel Avraham 225:5).
Explained in other terms, a father recites this brocha when he is no
longer responsible for his son’s sins, because he has no other way of avoiding
this responsibility, whereas he has a technical way to avoid responsibility for
his daughter’s sins.

Kaf Hachayim (225:15) provides a different answer to this question,
which looks at the topic from almost the opposite angle. Since a daughter
usually remains living in the home of her birth family until she marries, a
father remains responsible for her, even after she becomes an adult. Therefore,
reciting this brocha at her bas mitzvah would be premature.

could perhaps suggest a third answer: Although a son who reads the Torah,
receives an aliyah to the Torah, or leads the services has publicly
demonstrated that he is now an adult, what equivalent action does a daughter
perform at which we would expect her father to recite Boruch she’petorani?


now, for our last question: Does an adoptive father recite this brocha
at his son’s bar mitzvah?

Yitzchok Silberstein, in his sefer Chashukei Chemed,rules that
an adoptive father is not responsible for his son’s aveiros, and,
therefore, does not recite the brocha of Boruch she’petorani.


father gets up to announce that he realizes the scope of his responsibility.
Delving into the details of this brocha make us realize that raising a
child to be G-d fearing is a serious task, incumbent on all those who are
blessed with children. There are many factors that interplay in the raising of
a child, especially in our age, but this brocha reminds us of our
responsibility to do our best to imbue our children with a knowledge and love
of Hashem and His Torah and mitzvos.

Curious Kiddush Shaylos


The Torah commands us to declare the sanctity of Shabbos, a mitzvah we fulfill when we recite kiddush before beginning the meal. Simple as this mitzvah appears, it sometimes involves interesting shaylos.

We recite kiddush before the seudah at night and also Shabbos morning. The Torah mitzvah of kiddush is fulfilled at night and has two brachos, one on the wine and the other is the special kiddush bracha. The daytime kiddush was instituted by Chazal in order to demonstrate that because the Shabbos meals are special we drink a cup of wine beforehand. (The psukim that we recite before this kiddush are a later minhag, presumably to emphasize that we are reciting kiddush.) One is forbidden to eat or drink before reciting kiddush. The poskim dispute whether an ill or weak person who eats before davening should make kiddush before doing so or after. There is also a dispute whether a woman makes kiddush before eating breakfast on Shabbos morning or whether she does not need to make kiddush until she eats later with her husband.

Someone who failed to recite the full kiddush at night for some reason, must recite it before or during one of the Shabbos day meals (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 271:8). We will later discuss an interesting application of this rule.

One can fulfill the mitzvah of kiddush either by reciting it oneself or hearing it from someone else who recites it. This happens when the head of the household recites kiddush for everyone at the table. Everyone is yotzei kiddush, he by reciting it and everyone else by hearing it. This is referred to as the baal habayis being “motzi” the others in their mitzvah.

Several requirements must be met in order to fulfill the mitzvah through hearing someone else’s kiddush. One of the requirements is that the person reciting kiddush must be obligated in the mitzvah. For this reason, only an adult can be motzi other adults.

When I was twelve-years old, I once spent Shabbos with my widowed grandmother, a”h. She wanted me, as the “man” of the house, to recite kiddush, and I was happy to oblige. Years later it occurred to me that my recital did not fulfill her obligation to fulfill the mitzvah of kiddush since I was under bar mitzvah at the time.


The people fulfilling the mitzvah must hear the kiddush. Therefore, if the baal habayis mumbles inaudibly they do not fulfill the mitzvah. Trying to solve this problem can sometimes create shalom bayis issues or hurt someone’s feelings. A rav’s direction may be very helpful.

Someone once asked me the following shaylah. His father-in-law recited kiddush in a very garbled manner. Even if his father-in-law indeed recited a full kiddush, he (the son-in-law) did not hear enough to be yotzei. How could he fulfill the mitzvah of kiddush without hurting anyone’s feelings ?

I proposed two possible suggestions. One was to find some practical excuse why he (the son-in-law) should recite his own kiddush after his father-in-law (such as this is his personal custom). Alternatively, if this is not a practical solution, he and his wife could discreetly make kiddush in their own room beforehand. (Of course, this solution will not help when their children get older.) Later in this article, we will discuss whether one can recite kiddush in one room and eat in another.


It is necessary that the person making kiddush intend to be motzi those who want to fulfill the mitzvah, and they must have intent to fulfill the mitzvah with his recital. This leads us to a curious situation that once happened to me.

I was visiting the Schwartzes (Note: all names have been changed) for Shabbos and they honored me to recite kiddush first – or so I thought. I assumed that I was reciting kiddush for myself and that the baal habayis would then recite kiddush for his family. However, upon completing my kiddush, it became clear that the family had assumed that I had made kiddush for them as well. But since this was not my intention, they were not yotzei.

It turned out that the head of household was embarrassed to recite kiddush in my presence. Under the unusual circumstances, I may well have ended up reciting kiddush twice, one right after the other, because the family still needed someone to be motzi them in kiddush. Thus, if the baal habayis was still reluctant to recite kiddush, I could have recited it a second time for them because of the concept “Yatza motzi,” “someone who has already fulfilled the mitzvah may recite kiddush another time for someone who has not yet fulfilled it.”


One may recite a birchas hamitzvah (a bracha on a mitzvah) on behalf of another person (presuming that we are both obligated to fulfill this mitzvah) even if one is not presently fulfilling this mitzvah because of the principle “kol Yisroel areivim zeh lazeh,” “all Jews are responsible for one another,” (Gemara Rosh HaShanah 29a). This concept of “areivus” means that since I am responsible to help another Jew observe mitzvos, his responsibility to fulfill a particular mitzvah is also my mitzvah. Since I am responsible to see that my fellow Jew makes kiddush, I can recite the kiddush bracha on his behalf. For this same reason, I can still blow shofar in a shul and recite the brachos for other people even if I already fulfilled the mitzvah of shofar earlier.


I was once asked the following shaylah. Mr. Hirsch was hospitalized, and his wife was unable to make kiddush for her family. Mr. Goldberg, one of the Hirsch’s neighbors, asked whether he could make kiddush for the Hirsch family on his way home from shul and then go home and make kiddush for his own family. I told him that this was perfectly acceptable. However if he was not planning to eat anything at the Hirsch residence, he should not drink the kiddush wine but instead ask one of the Hirsch adults to drink most of a revi’is (about one-and-a-half ounces) from the cup (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 273:4; 271:13). I will explain later why Mr. Goldberg should not drink from the Hirsch goblet.

This seems strange. How can Mr. Goldberg recite “borei pri hagafen” and not drink any wine?


The answer to this question needs an introduction. It is true that one cannot recite a bracha on food or fragrance (birchas ha’ne’henin) for someone else’s benefit unless he is anyway making that bracha for himself. This is because the other person is not fulfilling any obligatory mitzvah by reciting these brachos. He needs to recite a bracha because he is gaining benefit, not because he is obligated to perform a mitzvah. Therefore, the rule of areivus does not apply in this case. Because he has no absolute obligation, one does not share in his mitzvah and cannot make the bracha on his behalf.

However, the bracha on kiddush wine is different because it is considered part of the obligatory mitzvah of kiddush (Gemara Rosh HaShanah 29a). Therefore, Mr. Goldberg can also make borei pri hagafen for the Hirsches even though he is not drinking any wine. (It should be noted that it is disputed whether this halacha is true for the daytime kiddush.)


Sometimes one has guests for a Shabbos daytime meal who have not yet fulfilled the mitzvah of kiddush this Shabbos at all. (A common application is when a guest is not yet observant.) This provides one with an opportunity to perform the additional mitzvah (in addition to exposing one’s guests to Shabbos) of kiddush. As explained above, the normal daytime kiddush is not a replacement for the night kiddush. Therefore, our unobservant lunch guests have not yet fulfilled the mitzvah of kiddush this Shabbos. How can one alleviate the situation?

Since kiddush can be recited the entire Shabbos day, one should recite the full Friday night kiddush on Shabbos daytime on behalf of his guests. Although he has already fulfilled the mitzvah, he can still be motzi his guests. However, in order to do so he must explain to them that hearing kiddush is a mitzvah and that they should listen to him with the intent to fulfill the mitzvah. (It is always a good idea to do this so that one’s guests know to fulfill the mitzvah.)


Before answering this question, we need to explain the concept of “Ayn kiddush elah b’makom seudah,” “Kiddush must be recited in the place that one will be eating a meal” (Gemara Pesachim 101a).

The Gemara relates the following story. One Friday evening, Rabba made kiddush. Although his disciple Abaye was present, Abaye planned to eat his Shabbos meal in his own lodgings. Rabba urged Abaye to “taste something” before he left, voicing concern that the light in Abaye’s lodging might extinguish before his arrival, making it impossible to make kiddush there. (I presume that Abaye was unable to locate his wine in the dark.) Rabba pointed out that Abaye would not be yotzei with the kiddush he just heard unless he ate something at Rabba’s house because of “Ayn kiddush elah b’makom seudah,” (Gemara Pesachim 101a).

This halacha is derived from the pasuk “Vikarasa LaShabbos Oneg” (Yeshaya 58:13), which Chazal midrashically interpret to mean, “In the place where you declare the kiddush of Shabbos, you should also celebrate your Shabbos meal” (Rashbam and Tosafos ad loc.). From this we derive that one must eat a meal in the place that one recites kiddush.


The Gemara rules that someone fulfills kiddush if he recited (or heard) kiddush in one part of a large room and ate in a different part of the room since this is considered the same place. Some poskim contend that one should not move to a different part of the house unless he knew at the time of kiddush that he might do this (Magen Avraham 273:1; Mishneh Berurah 273:3) and even this should be done only under extenuating circumstances (see Biyur Halacha 273:1). However, if one recited kiddush in one building and then went to a different building without eating, one certainly did not fulfill the mitzvah of kiddush and must recite (or hear) it again. This is why Mr. Goldberg could not drink the Hirsch’s wine. Since he had no intent to eat at the Hirsch’s house, he could not fulfill the mitzvah of kiddush there. Therefore he also couldn’t drink the wine since one cannot drink before fulfilling the mitzvah of kiddush. (According to most poskim, Mr. Goldberg has another option: he could drink the kiddush and then another cup of wine. This would be considered kiddush b’makom seudah.)


These two concepts (areivus and ayn kiddush elah b’makom seudah) are the basis of the custom that the chazzan recites kiddush in shul Friday evening without drinking the cup of wine.

Why is kiddush recited in shul at the end of Friday evening davening?

The Gemara mentions that in its time guests often stayed and ate their Shabbos meals in rooms attached to the shul and someone recited kiddush in shul on their behalf. Since the guests were eating in the same building, it was considered “kiddush b’makom seudah” and they fulfilled their mitzvah.

However, the chazzan who makes kiddush does not fulfill his mitzvah since he is eating his meal at his house which is in a different building. Therefore, he should not drink the kiddush wine. Instead it should be drunk by a guest eating in the building, and if there are no guests the cup is drunk by children who are permitted to drink or eat before kiddush. (Although in general children should be taught to keep mitzvos like adults, there is no requirement of chinnuch in this case. Iy”H I hope to discuss this halacha in a future article.)


I was once asked the following question from someone who was a guest at a Shabbos bar mitzvah:

“The baal simcha made kiddush in the shul immediately after davening, but the kiddush was conducted in the shul’s social hall. Is this an acceptable way to fulfill the mitzvah?”

Based on the above discussion, we can answer this question. If the social hall was in a different building, they would need to recite kiddush again in the social hall. Assuming the social hall was in the same building as the kiddush, this was acceptable under extenuating circumstances, assuming that they ate in the social hall. It would be preferred that they follow a different procedure, such as having kiddush made in the social hall.


Rabba’s words (“taste something”) imply that one fulfills kiddush without necessarily eating a meal, notwithstanding the Gemara’s statement that one must eat a meal where he recites kiddush. The Gaonim explain that one must begin his meal where he said kiddush by either eating some bread or drinking wine and this answer is quoted in Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 273:5). The Gaonim explicitly state that one does not fulfill kiddush b’makom seudah by eating only fruit. Although some poskim disagree, arguing that one fulfills kiddush b’makom seudah by eating fruit (Shiltei HaGiborim Pesachim 20a:1, quoting Riaz, as explained by Magen Avraham 273:11) the accepted practice does not follow this opinion (Magen Avraham 273:11; Shu”t Ayn Yitzchak #12).

Magen Avraham rules that one fulfills kiddush b’makom seudah by eating a kizayis-sized piece of mezonos (the same size piece that requires an “al hamichyah” blessing afterwards), and this is the prevalent practice followed on Shabbos morning when people often make kiddush and then eat pastry or crackers. Some poskim rule that one should not rely on drinking wine to fulfill kiddush b’makom seudah but instead eat mezonos or bread (see Rabbi Akiva Eiger to 273:5 and Mishneh Berurah 273:26).

Some people follow the practice of the Vilna Gaon to recite kiddush only immediately before the meal they are eating for the Shabbos seudah (see Biyur Halacha and Rabbi Akiva Eiger to 273:5). In his opinion the concept of “Vikarasa LaShabbos Oneg,” means that one should declare the kiddush of Shabbos specifically at the time that one celebrates the Shabbos meal.


I was once asked the following question. The director of a small senior residence used to always make kiddush for the residents and then go home to eat the Shabbos seudah with his family. One Yom Tov, there were only women in the residence. Could he make kiddush for them without eating there?


There might be a difference between Shabbos and Yom Tov in this regard. There is a dispute among the poskim whether women are obligated to recite kiddush on Yom Tov. The Gemara states that although women are usually not obligated to fulfill positive time-bound mitzvos (mitzvos aseh she-ha’zman grama), there are numerous exceptions to this rule, including kiddush. Some poskim believe that only Shabbos kiddush is an exception and that women are not required to recite kiddush on Yom Tov (Shu”t Rabbi Akiva Eiger #1). Other poskim (Graz 271:5) contend that there is no difference between kiddush on Shabbos and kiddush on Yom Tov – women are required to recite both (or hear them from someone else).

Although the universal practice is that women hear kiddush on Yom Tov, the above dispute has major ramifications. We mentioned above that one can be motzi someone even when one is not now fulfilling the mitzvah because of the concept of areivus. This means that the person making kiddush carries some of the responsibility of the mitzvah for the person who has not yet fulfilled the mitzvah. However, according to Rabbi Akiva Eiger, a woman does not have a mitzvah of reciting kiddush on Yom Tov. Therefore, a man who is presently not fulfilling the mitzvah cannot recite kiddush on her behalf. According to Rabbi Akiva Eiger, he should eat something after making kiddush and fulfill his mitzvah of kiddush in the residence.

Kiddush sets the tone of the whole Shabbos meal. In the midst of remembering the details and requirements of this mitzvah, we should never forget to also focus on the beauty of Shabbos and the wonderful opportunity we are given to sanctify it verbally day and night!