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Hi Rabbi, why is there Kiddush Friday night? Thanks!
The Torah says “Remember the Shabbat day to sanctify it.” (Exodus 20:7) This is a Biblical mitzvah to do something when Shabbat begins to show that we remember and recognize the Shabbat.
The Jewish meaning of “sanctity” is to be kept in a special and honored way and not be treated as mundane and profane. The something special we do is called Kiddush. Our Sages taught us that the words of blessings of Kiddush should be said in a respectful and honorable way by saying them over a cup of wine or grape juice.
Kiddush has three parts:
1. Torah verses that recall Creation and God resting after six days — on Shabbat
2. A blessing over the wine (often a silver cup, aka a becher)
3. A blessing of thanks to God for having chosen the Jewish People and giving us the gift of Shabbat
The English text of the Friday night Kiddush is as follows (the Hebrew text is found in any standard Siddur prayer book or special pamphlet with the blessings and songs for the Shabbat table):
The sixth day: And the Heavens and the Earth and all they contained were completed, and on the seventh day God desisted from all the work that he had done. And God rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, for on that day he rested from all the work which he had done in creating the world.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who creates the fruit of the vine.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with his commandments and favored us, and given us in love and favor his holy Shabbat as an inheritance, as a remembrance of the act of creation. For this day is the beginning of all holy days, a remembrance of the Exodus from Egypt. For You have chosen us and You have blessed us from among all the nations. And You gave us Your holy Shabbat with love and favor as a heritage. Blessed are you, God, Who sanctifies Shabbat.
(I hope this is helpful and wish you Shabbat Shalom!)
Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team