The Kiddush Cup

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What is The Kiddush Cup?

The Kiddush cup is a beautifully decorated wine vessel through which and into which the blessing comes. Kiddush, meaning sanctification, is the prayer recited over a cup of wine in the home and synagogue on the eve of the Sabbath, festivals, weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Bris and baby namings before the start of the meal.

The Kiddush praises God: Borei Pri Ha’Gefen – “Creator of the fruit of the vine.” Kiddush cups can be made of sterling silver, silver plate, pewter, fine china or pottery. Some are artfully crafted of other materials. Kiddush cups have always been elaborately designed and may display one's family emblem, Jerusalem, Shabbat prayers, or an engraved name and date.

The Kiddush cup is filled with wine and placed on the palm of the right hand so the cup is held by the upturned fingers. The palm corresponds to the letter yud, and the five fingers correspond to the letter hay, an allusion to these first two letters of G-d’s name.

The Wedding Kiddush Cup

The Wedding Kiddush cup is used for the Sheva Brachot (seven blessings). The first benediction, Kiddushin, recited over a cup of wine, sanctifies the joy and abundance of the Jewish marriage ceremony. The groom and bride sip from the Wedding Kiddush cup.

Elijah's Kiddush Cup

Elijah’s cup is used at the Passover seder. We fill the cup, but we don't drink from it. This cup is for Elijah. It is believed that Elijah’s coming will precede the messiah.

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