Click below to print the PDF. Parshas Ha'azinu Print Version
Excerpted and adapted from a shiur by Rav Yosef Jacobovits
March 4, 2021
And the B’nei Yisrael shall keep the Shabbos, to make the Shabbos for their generations an everlasting covenant…
The Mishnah Berurah (O.C. 289:2) writes that many people customarily recite this pasuk and the following one as part of the Shabbos daytime kiddush. Others have the custom to recite the pesukim of “Zachor…” (Shemos 20) as well, though the Mishnah Berurah cautions against reciting only the words “al kein beirach…” because one should not recite only part of a pasuk. The Aruch Hashulchan (O.C. 289) defends the custom by explaining that only one recites the passage to introduce the kiddush with ideas about Shabbos, not as a reading of the pasuk. In either case, reciting these pesukim is only a matter of custom and not required.
Although wine (or grape juice) is generally used for kiddush, on Shabbos day it is also permitted to use chamar medinah, an important drink in one’s time and place. R’ Moshe Feinstein says it should be a drink one would serve a prominent guest. In Europe, beer was often used as chamar medinah, though coffee or tea are more commonly used that way today in the U.S. One who uses these drinks must be careful to drink the proper shiur (the majority of a revi’is) immediately following the bracha (some allow up to a minute).
Schnapps is also acceptable halachically, though here too, most poskim hold that one must be careful to drink the proper shiur and ensure that the cup contains a revi’is. Iced coffee may also be used today according to many poskim, since it has recently become quite popular as a special drink. But most poskim hold that iced tea and soda do not qualify as chamar medinah.
(For other, more lenient opinions concerning soft drinks, see R’ Moishe Dovid Lebovits, Halachically Speaking, at http://www.shemayisrael.com/parsha/halacha/Volume%206%20Issue%201.pdf and R’ Eliezer Melamed, Peninei Halacha, at https://ph.yhb.org.il/plus/01-08-04/.)