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The Kiddush Cup is a Wine Glass, specially designated for reciting the blessing (Bracha) over wine at your Shabbat Table and on Jewish Holidays. Wine blessing tumblers come in a variety of designs such as the hand painted wood, the silver plated, and the sterling silver. We also have a range of fountains which take wine from one glass and distribute it among a large number of smaller versions so that the person who recited the blessings doesn't have to pour each little mini-goblet for all of the people attending the meal before they can drink. Given that most meals involve a large number to attendees, including many children, saving time by using a fountain is a great idea. It also avoids spillage when seeking to pour the wine from the primary goblet to the tiny mini-goblets that are given to each person.
It's also a great spectacle. It doesn't matter how often we have people at our Shabbat table, everyone gets excited when it's time to use the wine fountain and I'm not talking about just the children! All of these items are used for any Jewish holidays and Shabbat where kiddush (literally sanctification) over the wine is made before every meal. The goblet for blessing the wine has always had a special place at the dining room table and in every Jewish family. The children fight over the right to place it on the table and it is one of the most enduring and evocative items in a Jewish home when they remember growing up in the family.
Selecting the right goblet for a family can be a detailed process. Many are given as wedding gifts to the bride and groom. Some traditions see it as the duty of the bride’s parents to give the gift and some see it as the duty of the groom’s parents. However all acknowledge that to be responsible for gifting the item which will bring down a source of blessings to the entire family is a major honor.
Everyone has a different process but it’s important to keep in mind that whatever item is selected, it will become the focus of affection for the family. Consider that it is purchased for a bridal couple but it is the same goblet that will be used at the Brit Milah (Circumcision Ceremony) if a baby boy is born or a Simchat Bat (Daughter Celebration) if the family is blessed with a baby girl. It will also be held by these children as they grow older and help set the table for the family. Whatever the piece that is selected, it soon become elevated to great significance within the family. When we got married, the choice was a major one and too important to leave to our parents’ without our input. We elected something simpler and less decorative. It was a more modern, stylized version which has smooth lines and not a great deal of engraving. It suits our tastes and indeed, you can see a lot about a couple from the goblet they select to be the source of blessing for the wine.
Traditionally, all items were silver or silver plated. However, as time as progressed, a range of alternatives have evolved. We stock a colorful range of ceramic tumblers with designs evoking scenes from the Bible, Ancient Israel and patterns of birds and flowers taken from the world around us. These new items give the Shabbat table something to discuss each week when it’s presented to the room.
There are plastic chalices which are designed to look like the regular shiny items but they are very heavily discounted and they can be used without the same fears of the items being broken. They come in a variety of quantities and can be purchased many at a time in case you are hosting a large meal with many attendees who wish to have their own goblet. Many items are not sold alone. While having a goblet is essential, there are many other things going on at the Shabbat meal that are associated with the wine blessing. Some goblets are sold with a saucer to prevent spillage which often happens. It’s quite difficult to pour from the tumbler into smaller receptacles for sharing with the other people at the meal without getting any drips on the clean, white tablecloth. Having a saucer to prevent this will make everyone happy and save on dry cleaning costs after every meal. Some tumblers are sold with a while stone set where the goblet sits on the stone and, embedded in the stone, is the prayer for reciting the blessing over the wine. That makes it easy and stops the pre-Shabbat meal becoming stressed as you search around to fine the blessing.
The purpose of blessing the wine is to sanctify it. That means taking something that is normal, and imbuing it with some spiritual significance. That is indeed the purpose of life according to Jewish tradition – to take something that is simple, basic and even, sometimes, negative, and turning it into something beautiful which gives honor to G-d. Wine is a great example of this. Wine is a complex item to produce because of the various stages it needs to undergo from being a simple grape and becoming an intoxicating substance.
It’s this intoxication that makes wine such a special liquid and gives it such an esteemed place in Jewish tradition. An intoxicating substance can have many negative effects. We are all too familiar with what happens when people become drunk and lose control. They often damage themselves as well as those around them. However, wine also have many positive aspects. It can lead people to relax and socialise and in yesteryears, it was the mainstay of liquid consupmtion. It can help dull down the stresses of daily ritual and help you focus on more important things.
Therefore, Judaism has accorded wine a special place. It gives it special honor at all holy events whether that be Shabbat, all of the Festivals, Circumcision Ceremonies, and Weddings. When we are taking something simple – like a meal or two people wanting to be together – and making it holy; then wine is there to accompany us.
Wine is not the only thing blessed at the Shabbat dinner table. The first thing to be blessed is the Shabbat itself which is formally welcomed by all the family through the famous song, Shalom Alechem. Then the next things to be blessed is the lady of the house with the song Ashet Chayil which translates as Woman of Valor. It is sung by her husband and the children and reminds us all of the value of a honest, G-d-fearing woman who is hard working and how it compares favourably to precious gems. While gems have no use or value apart from their appearance, a good wife is of tremendous inherent value.
Then the children are blessed by their father. Each child is blessed in turn with the same blessing that is taken from the blessing that Issac gave to Abraham and the Cohens give to all of Israel still until today. The introduction to this blessing is changed whether the person being blessed is a boy or girl but even if there are three boys, they are each blessed individually. This practice takes place no matter how old the children are. Finally, the wine is ready for blessing and the words of the blessing are taken from the first book of the Torah that is called Genesis. The section taken for the blessing the wine on Shabbat is the story of creation and the reminder that the commandment to rest from work on the seventh day comes from this part of the bible. On other days, such as Jewish New Year or Passover, this section is swapped for other sections of the Bible with content relevant to those festivals.