Ever wonder why...we either stand, sit, or do both when making Kiddush on Friday night?
Ever wonder why...we either stand, sit, or do both when making Kiddush on Friday Night?
The question of
how we should conduct ourselves during Friday Night Kiddush is very
interestingly not discussed in the Gemora or by the early Halachic
Authorities. The Gemora in Brachot does tell us that a whenever one is
making a Bracha and excepting others in their obligation everyone
should be sitting. The reason for this is to ensure everyone will
listen and concentrate on fulfilling their obligation. An additional
rationale for sitting is that rabbinicly Kiddush should be recited
b’makom sueda, in the time and place of a meal. In order to fulfill
this, there are those who reason that Kiddush should be recited while
sitting. The custom is however, when sitting a person should stand or
at least raise his body during the first four words. The reason for
this is that the first letters of these words, which are actually from
the sixth day, spell out Hashem’s name.
According to Kabbalah, Kiddush should be said
standing. This was the custom of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria the Arizal.
Kiddush is compared to the blessings for a bride. Just as the blessings
given to a bride under the chupah have to be said standing, so too
Kiddush is to be said standing. Shabbat is like a bride. As we say in
Lecha Dodi, “Boei Kallah, Boei Kallah, come bride, come bride.” The
Aruch Hashulchan explains that there is no worry of a lack of
concentration, because all have gathered to hear Kiddush and will stand
still to listen appropriately.
In order to answer why some sit and stand, we have
to first examine some of the parts of Friday Night Kiddush. The first
paragraph of “Vaychulu” is testimony to the fact that God created the
Heavens and the Earth. The source of this paragraph is the recounting
of the Shabbat that followed The Six Days of Creation. By proclaiming
that Hashem finished the Heavens and the Earth and then rested, we are
testifying to His role as Creator of the Universe. As with all
testimony, it should be said standing. Even though “Vaychulu” was said
in during Maariv in the synagogue, it is repeated for the rest of the
family at home. Parenthetically, specifically because it was said in
the synagogue the other opinions obtain that it is not necessary to
stand during Kiddush.
The bracha on the wine is rabbinic as the Rabbis
established Kiddush on wine to add a measure of importance and dignity
to the Kiddush. As previously mentioned it and the remainder of Kiddush
should be said sitting to fulfill Kiddush b’makom sueda.
The Halachic authorities make it clear that
whichever custom a person has it is not an issue of Jewish law, but
rather custom. The custom in most communities is follow ones parent’s
custom. In the event that there is no family custom, many follow the
ruling of the Rema, who says to sit for the entire Kiddush. One of
course should consult their Rabbi.
Rabbi Eliezer Kessler