Welcoming Shabbat – Kiddush

We will examine the Kiddush ritual, said over wine and Challah. We will discuss the blessings and the actions they accompany.

Resource Ages: 6-8, 9-11


Kiddush for Shabbat (excerpt)

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who finding favor with us, sanctified us with the commandments. In love and favor, You made the holy Shabbat our heritage as a reminder of the work of Creation. As the first among our sacred days, it recalls the Exodus from Egypt. In love and favor You have given us Your holy Shabbat as an inheritance. Blessed are You, Adonai, who sanctifies Shabbat.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’, אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגֶּפֶן:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’, אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעֹולָם,
אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְרָצָה בָנוּ,
וְשַׁבַּת קָדְשׁוֹ בְּאַהֲבָה וּבְרָצוֹן הִנְחִילָנוּ,
זִכָּרוֹן לְמַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית,
תְּחִלָּה לְמִקְרָאֵי קדֶשׁ,
זֵכֶר לִיצִיאַת מִצְרַיִם.
וְשַׁבַּת קָדְשְׁךָ בְּאַהֲבָה וּבְרָצוֹן הִנְחַלְתָּנוּ:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’, מְקַדֵּשׁ הַשַּׁבָּת:

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who brings forth bread from the land.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ אֱ-להֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעולָם. הַמּוצִיא לֶחֶם מִן הָאָרֶץ:

Foundations for Planning

Essential Questions

  • Why are holidays, rituals, customs, important to me, my family, and my community?
  • How do Jewish rituals and practices enrich the way I experience my life and the world?
  • Why/how might Jewish practices be meaningful for me even if I don’t define myself as “religious”?

Content Questions Related to the Essential Questions

  • What is a ceremony?
  •  How does the Kiddush ritual influence our feelings about Shabbat?

Background for Teacher

Shabbat stands out as the most special day of the week. One of the things that make it special are the prayers and ceremonies  or rituals that welcome Shabbat, just as we welcome a special guest or an important visitor, such as a king...

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Shabbat stands out as the most special day of the week. One of the things that make it special are the prayers and ceremonies  or rituals that welcome Shabbat, just as we welcome a special guest or an important visitor, such as a king or queen. These rituals help to make Shabbat felt in the private and public domain, and facilitate the physical and spiritual transition from the ordinary days of the week to the sanctity of Shabbat.

One of the main rituals used to welcome Shabbat is Kiddush, which takes place before the Friday-evening meal. Kiddush includes verses from the Torah and blessings emphasizing the sanctity of Shabbat. Kiddush is said twice over the course of each Shabbat – on Friday evening and Saturday morning. The text in this resource is taken from Kiddush for Friday evening. The ritual includes blessing and drinking wine, and blessing and eating Challot.

The tradition is to bless two Challot, known as lechem mishneh (“double bread.”) This recalls the manna the Children of Israel received in the desert – on Shabbat they would collect a double quantity. The Challot are covered during Kiddush – some people believe that this commemorates the way that the manna was covered in dew, while others suggest that the reason is so that the bread will not be “offended” when it sees that the wine is being blessed first!

Optional Hooks
In-Depth Discussion
Suggested Activities
Further Study
How to Do It?

Hold a discussion with the students about personal ceremonies or rituals in their everyday lives:

  • A good place to start is the bedtime ritual – ask the students to describe the actions they perform before going to sleep (song, story, hug, etc.).
  • Explain that actions like this that we repeat regularly, or which are important to us, are actually rituals. It is important to note that the interval at which these actions are repeated can vary – every day, several times a week, once a month, once a year, etc. What matters in terms of the definition of a ritual or ceremony is the regular pattern.
  • What other rituals or ceremonies take place over the week (in the mornings or at weekends)? How do they feel about these? What do they get from them?
  • Tell the children that in Jewish tradition Shabbat is also welcomed with ceremonies. Show them the short film showing a family making Kiddush.

Click here to view our consolidated list of suggested interactive pedagogies for classroom discussion.

  1. In the Kiddush we mention that Shabbat is sacred or holy (special, set aside). In what ways is Shabbat special and different from the other days of the week?
  2. According to Jewish tradition, Shabbat is welcomed with Challah and wine. What is special about Challah? What is special about wine?
  3. The Kiddush mentions that God gave us Shabbat “in love.” What can that teach us about Shabbat? What do we give “in love” to other people? (Presents, things they can use, things that matter to us…)

For older students:

  1. The Kiddush mentions that Shabbat is sacred. What does “sacred” mean?
  2.  Many Hebrew words from the root קדש appear in the Kiddush – קדשנו, קודשו, קודש, קודשך, מקדש (depending on the students’ level of Hebrew you could ask them to identify the words themselves). Why is this root repeated so many times?

For younger students:

  • “Our Shabbat Table” – prepare a Shabbat table with the students, including the familiar items (candles, candlesticks, Challot, Challah cover, wine, wine goblet). You can also add items that make the table look more festive – flowers, decorations, etc. The students can draw the items on the table or make them from various materials, and they can work in groups or own their own. Discuss the differences between the Shabbat table and a normal weekday table – how does this influence our experience and feelings?
  • Make Challot with the students. If you do not have baking facilities, prepare the dough in class and then bake the Challot in one of the students’ homes, or let each student take dough home to bake.Discuss the differences between ordinary bread and Challah. Why do we eat a different kind of bread on Shabbat?

For older students:

  • Alongside the traditional features, everyone can welcome Shabbat in a way that works best for them. You can share the sheet inviting the students to suggest their own personal ways to welcome Shabbat.
  • Read an excerpt from the book The Little Prince. In the book, the Little Prince visits several planets and meets various characters. In the excerpt here, the Little Prince meets a fox several times, and the fox asks him to come to their meetings at a regular time:

    “It would have been better to come back at the same hour,” said the fox. “If, for example, you come at four o’clock in the afternoon, then at three o’clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances. At four o’clock, I shall already be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am! But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you . . . One must observe the proper rites . . .””What is a rite?” asked the little prince.”Those also are actions too often neglected,” said the fox. “They are what make one day different from other days, one hour from other hours.”You can discuss the following questions with the students:
  1. How does the fox define the idea of a “ceremony” or a rite or ritual?
  2. Do you agree with the fox’s definition? Explain.
  3. How does the fox explain the power of regular ceremonies?
  4. Do you see anything in common between Kabbalat Shabbat and the way the fox explains ceremonies/rites and their power?

Another ceremony that welcomes Shabbat is lighting candles when Shabbat begins. We will learn about lighting candles on Shabbat and look at a drawing that conveys the atmosphere created by the Shabbat candles.