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.