The Least-Known Shabbos Morning Kiddush Halacha


By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for

It is known as the least-known Shabbos morning kiddush halacha.  The halacha involves five elements:

  1. Individual cheek volume
  2. Food Importance
  3. Coca Cola
  4. Wine
  5. Ezra HaSofer.

Before we get to the actual halacha – let’s explore each of the five.



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Each person has his or her own cheek volume.  In Hebrew, this is called “maleh lugmav.” The variations in cheek volume appear across the spectrum – men, women, children, and across all ethnicities.  Cheek volume is a factor of a number of things:  genetics, age, body type, fat pads, skin elasticity, weight, glandular tissue, collagen breakdown.  The average range of a maleh lugmav, however, is between 1.5 and 2 ounces of liquid.

The term is key.  In order for one who is making kiddush to fulfill the Mitzvah, he must drink a cheekful of the wine. [As a parenthetic note, in order to avoid a safek bracha, one should drink more than 3.8 ounces of a liquid, a reviis, because there are some opinions that one recites a bracha acharona when one has consumed the volume of a kezayis of a liquid]. This is also what must be consumed for havdallah.


Rav Elyashiv once explained in his daily Gemorah shiur when he was teaching brachos, that even before Chazal (Ezra HaSofer and his Beis Din) inaugurated the concept of pre-eating brachos, there was still such a thing as priority in eating.  This can be seen from the pasuk in Dvarim where the list of the seven minim are listed.  After the specific brachos on each food were ordained – the priority transferred to the bracha rather than the food.


Coca Cola is a popular drink invented in the late 1800’s by a confederate army colonel who was addicted to morphine on account of a civil war injury.  He invented Coke as a cure for morphine addiction among other medicinal uses.  The blessing that is recited upon it is shehakol.


Wine is a very important drink. Ideally, one should recite Shabbos morning kiddush on wine. On account of wine’s importance, other drinks such as Coca Cola become “tafel” or subordinate to it.  The lower drink, thus loses its bracha to the wine (See Shulchan Aruch Orech Chaim 174:2), much like in cheese and crackers – the cheese loses its bracha to the crackers.


Ezra HaSofer and his Beis Din were the ones who established the recitation of brachos before drinking or eating.  And so, the least known halacha is that if one consumes a cheekful of wine, then any subsequent drink should be consumed without reciting a bracha.  Thus, if one has wine, kichel and then coke – no bracha is recited on the coke.

There are a few caveats to the least-known halacha.  In order for the coke to lose its bracha, a cheekful of the wine must be consumed.  If the coke was not in front of him or if he had no intention to drink further – then a bracha is recited on Coke when it is brought later.  If, however, he is a guest in the home of another, and the Coke is brought out later – then he relies on the daas of his host and even though he had no intention of drinking of it, he still does not recite a bracha.

Of course, the halacha mentioned above applies to other drinks as well. Coke was used as a mere illustration.  Have a great Shabbos!


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The author can be reached at [email protected]


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