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HKiddush in ShulRabbi Daniel RoselaarRav of Kehillat Alei Tzion
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A familiar feature of the Friday evening service in many shuls is the recital of Kiddush by the chazzan, though in many other shuls this is absent. The purpose of this article is to consider the background to this custom, as well as some of the associated halachos.
The practice of reciting Kiddush in shul is very ancient and can be traced back to Talmudic times. The Gemara in Maseches Pesachim (100b) clearly assumes that this was a common occurrence and asks whether the person who makes Kiddush in shul must repeat it again when he arrives home. In the course of a debate between Rav and Shmuel regarding this question the Gemara explains that Kiddush was made in shul for the benefit of travellers who ate and slept on the synagogue premises.
Nowadays it is rare that travellers are provided with food and lodging in the shul building itself, and even if they are, they would usually be provided with wine for Kiddush at the dinner table. Consequently, the recital of Kiddush by the chazzan would seem to be redundant, and would even constitute a brachah in vain. This is the view of the Rosh in his commentary to this passage (10:5) and he opines that in such circumstances Kiddush should not be recited. However, he also cites the view of Rabbenu Yonah who disagrees on the grounds that this Kiddush is also effective for people who dont know how to make Kiddush properly at home and that they can discharge their obligations by listening to the chazzan in shul. Rabbenu Yonah was of the opinion that even though there is a requirement that Kiddush should be said bemakom seudah, in instances whether this is not possible that requirement can be waived.
The machlokes between the Rosh and Rabbenu Yonah was repeated by the sages of subsequent generations as well. The Tur (OH 269) records the custom to say Kiddush in shul, but comments that were he
able to do so, he would have discontinued the practice a telling insight into both the practical authority of even the most prominent of poskim and the power of minhag and that Rav Hai Gaon also maintained that Kiddush should not be recited in the absence of travellers. On the other hand, the Ran (in his comments to the Rif 20a) endorsed the custom, on the grounds that this Kiddush was never introduced into the service on an as-needs basis, but that it was a formal addition to the service which is to be retained even if the original reasons are no longer relevant. Rabbi David Abudraham in his commentary to the Siddur also endorsed the custom, on the grounds that it constitutes a public proclamation of Hashems holiness in the same way that Chanukah lights are lit in shul with brachos even though they do not fulfil any particular mitzvah requirement.
The Shulchan Aruch (OH 269:1) writes that the custom is to recite Kiddush even if there are no travellers, but that it is better not to do so and that in Eretz Yisrael it is not recited. However the Rama notes that the chazzan should stand when he recites Kiddush in shul (rather than sitting as he would do at home), so this clearly indicates that he endorsed, or at least maintained, the practice of reciting Kiddush.
The Shulchan Aruch also writes that if Kiddush is recited, the wine should be given to a child to drink. An adult would not be allowed to drink the wine since one is not permitted to drink anything before reciting Kiddush and since this is not a valid Kiddush in terms of the mitzvah the restriction against drinking is still in force. The Magen Avraham discusses why this does not apply also to a child and makes several suggestions including i) though it is generally prohibited to feed forbidden foods to a child, in this case the food itself is not forbidden; ii) Chazal never imposed any restrictions on children if they could be injurious to their health and since waiting a long time before eating can sometimes be unhealthy, the whole prohibition against eating before Kiddush does not apply to children. In the event that no child is present to drink the wine the chazzan should drink it, but he should drink a full reviis (in addition to the mouthful required for Kiddush) in order to fulfil the requirement of making Kiddush as part of a seudah.
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Dr Charles LandauJewish historian and Dentist. He has lectured and given shiurim around Britain, America, German, Poland and Italy. He is a Jewish Tour leader, having led groups to Germany, Italy, Poland and Berlin2
Dos Lied funem Oysgehargen Yidishn Folk:(The song of the murdered Jewish People)
Woe is unto me,Nobody is left
There was a people and it is no moreThere was a people and it isGone.
Born Karelitz, lived in Lodz, incarcerated in the Warsaw Ghetto and murdered Birkenau 1944
Jews were first invited into Poland around the tenth century. They came through voluntary migration at the invitation of princes and kings who wanted Jews to help Polish commerce in their fledgling country. Fleeing the Black Death, blood libels, Crusades and expulsions, Jews moved from Germany and South West Europe and established what would become the centre of the Ashkenazi world, indeed, the greatest Jewish community on earth. By 1500, there were 10,000 Jews in about 85 towns with early settlements in what were to become major centres of Jewish life - Warsaw and Kazimierz. Jews excelled as middlemen in finance, salt mines and agriculture. Jews established themselves in foreign trade, food, leather and clothing.
However, Jews became an oppressed and suffering minority. Many Poles and the Polish Church were disturbed by the Jews success, and together with their success and prominence came classic medieval anti-Jewish sentiments and laws, often imported from neighbouring German lands. Jews were separated from Christians in separate living areas, socialising was discouraged and Jews were to be readily identified by the wearing of the distinctive Jew badge. The Churchs attitude and the maintaining of separation and distinctiveness defined the situation of Jews in Europe and especially Poland for 1000 years. There was always a dangerous balance for the Jews to navigate between the protection of princes and kings and the hatred and hostility of the Church, artisans, and peasantry.
Yet despite poverty, hardship and anti-Jewish outbreaks, Polish Jewry viewed themselves as in a good position, especially when compared with the Jews of Germany or the Iberian peninsula. The Jewish population grew to between
220,000 and half a million by the first half of the seventeenth century, representing up to 5% of the total population of the Kingdom of Poland, which then included the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Jews viewed their fate in Polin (Dwell here) as part of the Divine plan on the inevitable road to the coming of the Mashiach.
All nations come to an end but not the Jews
Jews soon settled in about 1000 places all over Poland. They created great communities, large and small, with their distinct Polish-Ashkenaz culture infused with and bolstered by Jewish tradition and led by great Rabbinic scholars and leaders. The Kings of Poland gave the Jewish communities a semblance of real power and they were given official recognition of their self-government. The Jews collected taxes, paid the Rav and the shochet, supported the shtadlanim, ran Batei Din, helped the sick and the poor. They supported education, the Beis Hamedrash, fortified synagogues in places such as Brody, Lublin, Jaroslav, Zamosc and many others, and had the ultimate power of the little used cherem. The Polish kehillos cultivated the differences between Jew and non-Jew in language juicy mame loshen, dress, culture, learning, values and behaviour.
All local kehillos came under the unique and special countrywide Council of Four Lands, the Vaad Arba Aratzos. Sometimes the Four Lands would become Five Lands with the inclusion of Lithuania. The Vaad of four or five lands demonstrated the greatest degree of Jewish autonomy ever attained by the Jews of Europe (1580-1764). It simply had no equal. It represented all Jews and was accepted by the kehillos as the supreme authority in communal matters.
Nathan of Hanover chronicled:
The pillar of justice was in the kingdom of Poland, as it was in Jerusalem before the destruction of the Beis Hamikdoshthe leaders of the Four Lands were like the SanhedrinThey had the authority to judge all Israel and to punish each man as they saw fit
The period of the late sixteenth century to the mid-seventeenth century became known as the Golden Age of Polish Jewry, and if it was rightly famed for the power of its Vaad Arba Aratzos, it would become even more famous and renowned for the greatness of the Rabbis that graced that period with their phenomenal erudition, learning, c