Kiddush – Drinking the Wine

I tend to get dizzy when I drink wine too quickly – though in general I tolerate wine very well. How much of the Kiddush cup do I need to drink? Is it sufficient to take just a few sips – or to drink it slowly throughout the meal?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

You do not have to drink the entire contents of the Kiddush cup. The amount one is supposed to drink is one cheek-full of liquid (Shulchan Aruch 271:13). This depends on the size of the person, but for an average person it is a little over half of the size of a minimal Kiddush cup.

(How large is a “minimal Kiddush cup” is a separate issue. I discussed it recently here:

This amount should also be drunk pretty quickly – in no more than 2 shots (based on Shulchan Aruch 612:10, see Mishnah Berurah 210:1). Many people are unfamiliar with this and sip their Kiddush (or Havdalah) wine slowly during the course of the meal. In truth, if you take up to 4 minutes to drink a cheek-full that is also acceptable (Chazon Ish O.C. 39).

I should also mention that the Kiddush cup should be filled entirely even if it is large and holds much more than you intend to drink (Rema 183:2).

One final point is that it’s actually better not to drink much more than a cheek-full of wine at Kiddush. It is better to drink the remainder of the cup during the meal (Bi’ur Halacha 174 s.v. “v’chain”). The reason is because when one consumes the full amount, it is possible that he should recite an after blessing on it right then – even before beginning his meal. If he drinks less and continues during the meal, the Grace after Meals covers the Kiddush wine as well.

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