Kiddush Cups Guide
At the beginning of Shabbat and Jewish Holidays, the tradition is to mark the beginning with a blessing over a cup of wine known as “Kiddush”. The normal practice is for everyone present to drink a bit of the wine after the blessing is made. Shabbat and Holiday meals usually have a large number of people present, so sometimes only the family drinks out of the Kiddush cups and other guests are given the wine in separate cups.
What is a Kiddush Cup?
The Kiddush cup is a beautifully designed goblet that is usually personalized for the Shabbat meal. It is more sophisticated than an ordinary glass or cup.
Kiddush cups are usually made of a precious metal such as Sterling Silver or Nickel. However, lacquered wood is also used as is ceramic.
Kiddush cups typically are painted if they are made from ceramic or wood and engraved if from sterling silver or nickel. Ceramic and wood cups usually are painted with traditional depictions of Israel, different types of animals and the Seven Species of fruits and grains Israel is known for.
Sterling Silver Kiddush cups have the most variety in their decorations. These cups can feature the type of simple, yet elegant designs found on silver items from the Renaissance such as ropes and floral patterns. They may also have fancy decorations such as grape clusters, Jerusalem and engravings of the blessing made over wine, “Boreh Pri HaGefen”, or “He who created the fruit of the vine” in English.
Kiddush cups can be personalized in several different ways. The most popular way is by having names engraved. This is especially popular if the cup is to be a wedding gift. However, it can also be personalized further if the recipient would like to choose exactly what will be on the cup.
For More Information
The Hebrew word Kiddush means “making something holy.” Generally, the Kiddush ceremony means a recital of a blessing on sweet wine before a major festive meal. If no sweet wine is available, grape juice may also be used. Since the Kiddush is a highly important ceremony, a special cup should be designated for it, so most people make it a point to obtain a fine Kiddush cup. While Kiddush is performed on various occasions, such as weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, holidays and more, for many it is most associated with Shabbat.
On Shabbat, the Kiddush is a transition from a stressful week to a magical day of respite from the daily grind. The person performing the ceremony, usually the head of the household, passes the Kiddush cup around so that those who are present may sip from the consecrated wine. Once Kiddush has been made, the Challah is blessed on and the rest of the food may be eaten. Intriguingly, just as Kiddush is used to welcome Shabbat, it is also used at its departure, in a ceremony called Havdalah.
Every Shabbat Kiddush is performed twice, both at the beginning of the Friday night meal as well as the beginning of the Saturday morning meal. Kiddush is one of the few religious rituals that are performed not only by strict practitioners, but also by some who do not practice Judaism at all. Due to its frequent use, the Kiddush cup is one of the most popular items at Judaica stores.In art, and Judaica art in particular, artisans often like to push the envelope when crafting a piece. Sometimes those new creations are quite astonishing. While most Kiddush cups are of standard size, approximately four or five inches in height, some artists seem to believe that the bigger the cup is the longer Shabbat will stay. Some of these artists will go as far as creating a fifteen inch tall cup! This size may seem a bit too much, considering the fact that it is meant to be filled with wine, making the cup quite heavy. However, supersize Kiddush cups also have their benefits. For example, the big surface area on the cup provides much more room for different images and writings on the cup, and a Kiddush cup can never be too adorned.
Kiddush cups can be made of assorted materials. While most people choose to use sterling silver Kiddush cup, there are many different alternatives to those who do not wish to go the popular route. Lately, more and more Judaica stores are offering painted wood Kiddush cups with matching saucers. Although not as sturdy as their sterling silver counterparts, wood Kiddush cups’ uniqueness lies in their colorful, modern design. For those who are not interested in the “clean,” regal look of silver, the artistic designs on the wood cups are a great option. Some artists even take requests when painting images on the cups, thus allowing the buyers to partake in the creative process.
Kiddush cups are a lovely gift for a groom at a Jewish wedding or for a Bar Mitzvah boy marking his entrance into adulthood. A Kiddush cup serves as a great gift when accompanied by a Tallith for a wedding or Bar Mitzvah occasion. These two items are important religious Judaica items necessary for Shabbat and other Jewish holidays. Feel free to browse through the collection of Tallitot, Kiddush Cups, and other synagogue items here at World of Judaica.