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The Lady Of The House
“One Says the Blessing on the Wine First”
(Berachos 51)



The evening Shabbos Kiddush consists of two berachos: ha’gafen and birkas hayom (the blessing over the day). The Mishnah cites a dispute between Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel over which berachah to say first. Beis Shammai asserts that birkas hayom precedes hagafen while Beis Hillel says the reverse. The halacha follows Beis Hillel.

Primacy of Wine and Frequency

Beis Hillel offers two reasons for its opinion. First, the wine causes Kiddush to be made (i.e., if not for the wine, there would be no Kiddush). Second, tadir v’she’eino tadir, tadir kodem – whenever we’re faced with performing a common action and an uncommon one, we perform the common action first.

Biblical vs. Rabbinical

The Pnei Yehoshua (ad loc.) points out a difficulty. The obligation to recite the berachah of Kiddush is biblical, whereas the berachah over wine is only rabbinical. Shouldn’t the biblical berachah therefore come first even if it is said less often?

Rabbi Yechezkel Landau (Tzlach ad loc.) asks further: Since the mitzvah of Kiddush is biblical, shouldn’t it be said even if there is no wine? Why then does the Gemara say that according to Beis Hillel, a person is not required to recite Kiddush if he lacks wine?

Kiddush In Maariv

The Pnei Yehoshua answers these questions by noting that a person has already said the berachah of Kiddush in the Maariv amidah. So this berachah actually was said first.

Women, however, often do not daven Maariv, so in theory they should say the Kiddush berachah first (and then the wine blessing) if they make Kiddush for themselves.

Indeed, She’arim Metzuyanim B’Halacha (ad loc.) notes that this logic might explain why the lady of the house, upon receiving Kiddush wine from their husbands, sometimes say their own “borei pri ha’gafen.” That way, the Kiddush berachah will have come first.


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Rabbi Yaakov Klass is chairman of the Presidium of the Rabbinical Alliance of America; rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn; and Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at and