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  • What is the minimum Shi'ur (volume) of a cup required for making Kiddush on liquor? Is there a smaller amount required than there is for wine?

  • What is the minimum Shi'ur of the liquor that one is required to consume? (And is it dependent on the size/fullness of the cup? Ie., if the cup is larger than the minimum volume for the cup, and full, is there a percentage to be drunk, or only a volume requirement?)

I originally made these separate questions because this Shabbath I saw, for the first time, someone make Kiddush on liquor using a full cup, even though the cup itself was much more than a Revi'ith, which is a stringent approach, but then only drink Rov Lugmo (basically a mouthful), which is a very lenient approach. I asked him if he intended to drink Rov Kos (a majority of the cup), a stringent approach in line with the fullness of his cup, and he specifically said he was Meikel on that and specifically only drank Rov Lugmo. This made me wonder if there are sources that separate the two (three?) issues.

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I strongly suggest you merge the questions to say: Are the measurements used to determine minimum volumes for kiddush on wine applicable to kiddush on liquor or is there a difference? I suggest this because the answers are the same story for both. I hope to post a sourced answer when I have sometime tomorrow afternoon if no one beats me to it :) –  Double AA Dec 7 '11 at 6:39
    
Why would you think that you need less liquor than wine for kiddush? –  avi Dec 7 '11 at 7:34
    
I made them separate questions because this Shabbath I saw, for the first time, someone make Kiddush on liquor using a full cup, even though the cup itself was much more than a Revi'ith, which is a stringent approach, but then only drink Rov Lugmo (basically a mouthful), which is a very lenient approach. I asked him if he intended to drink Rov Kos (a majority of the cup), a stringent approach in line with the fullness of his cup, and he specifically said he was Meikel on that and specifically only drank Rov Lugmo. This made me wonder if there are sources that separate the two (three?) issues. –  Seth J Dec 7 '11 at 13:56
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I collapsed these two very related questions into one and added the explanation text from the above comment. –  Isaac Moses Dec 7 '11 at 15:22

2 Answers 2

Normally kiddush requires a "reviis", which we'll call 3.3 fluid ounces. Kiddush (for shabbos day, as well as havdalah) may be recited on any chamar medina, "beverage of the land, which you'd serve a respected guest." In addition to wine/grape juice, this certainly includes:

  • Beer (found in the Gemara)
  • Apple juice (This appears in the Artscroll "Radiance of Shabbos", if I recall; the author confirmed this with ... I believe Rav Scheinberg. Note that Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef shlit'a considers some Sephardic opinions (Rashba I think?) that kiddush material must be either alcoholic, or a substance that can be made alcoholic (e.g. grape juice, even if this particular grape juice has been pasturized or contains preservatives). I would think, according to this reasoning, that apple juice would still be okay, as apple juice can be made into applejack.
  • Orange juice, coffee, tea, milk (at least for Ashkenazim).
  • Soda is debatable. If I recall someone asked R' Moshe Feinstein, who said no. "But they serve it at all the fancy weddings!" Still no.

Hard liquor is certainly respectable enough of a beverage; the question is its quantity. If I recall correctly, the original source on this is a Taz (see msh210's answer) in the laws of Brachos, who says if you drink whatever is considered a significant amount of a special beverage, that can warrant an after-bracha, even if it was less than the standard 3.3 fluid ounces. Later authorities have suggested this could be applied to kiddush as well; if a shot of whiskey is considered significant, that may count. Again, ask your local rabbi.

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That I am trying too find who are these later authorties seeing that the mishnah berurah says you need a full cup like Kiddush. –  SimchasTorah Jan 24 '11 at 0:58
    
You quote earlier authorities about what is chamar medina, yet this issue is clearly one that can change rapidly and may differ based on location. Who says ROY's psak applies to the USA or if RMF's psak still applies today? Not to mention how are drinking patterns are different from the gemara's! –  Double AA Nov 13 '11 at 8:29
    
@DoubleAA, firstly I certainly don't think soft drinks have become more respectable in America (certainly not to the NYC Health Commissioner!) than in the 1960s. But beyond that, it's very possible that that there are legal baselines for chamar medina irrespective of culture. The Rashba says it must contain sugar or alcohol. Grape juice and wine are inherently chamar medina so long as they haven't been diluted to the point of no longer warranting hagafen, even if you wouldn't dare serve your guest 60% Kedem grape juice 40% water. –  Shalom Nov 14 '11 at 0:22
    
I spoke with a big talmid chacham regarding R' Moshe's opinion. He said if it's a "thirst quencher", it's not chamar medina. ("Respectable beverage" means "not just because you're thirsty.") And that if you start with water, you have to brew (e.g. beer) or infuse (e.g. coffee) something into it to make it more than "water"; just mixing in sugar, carbonation, and flavorings doesn't cut it. Again, these poskim would tell you that not all aspects of chamar medina are culturally relative. –  Shalom Nov 14 '11 at 0:29
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@Shalom Just remember, for every kula you apply to chamar medina for kiddush and havdala, you have less and less reason to not constantly be bentching with a kos! –  Double AA Dec 7 '11 at 19:48

Note: This answer was penned when the question was only "What is the minimum Shi'ur (volume) of a cup required for making Kiddush on liquor? Is there a smaller amount required than there is for wine?", without the "What is the minimum Shi'ur of the liquor that one is required to consume?" part.

This is the subject of a dispute. The default halacha is that it must hold a r'viis as any other drink must. However, Eshel Avraham (Buczacz, 272) writes (in my own loose translation):

One can excuse those who make [daytime] kidush on whiskey in a small cup.... This is because, once the Taz writes that one says a b'racha acharona after even a small amount of whiskey (since it's so strong), perhaps the same applies here regarding kidush by day.... However, it's best to make kidush on a r'viis, as the Tz'lach says.

While Mishna B'rura 272:30 demands a r'viis and Aruch Hashulchan (as far as I see) doesn't discuss the issue, use of a smaller cup is somewhat widespread and supported by rabbis, especially, I think, among chasidim: see, e.g., Taame Haminhagim, footnote 75 to paragraph 365. As always, for practical guidance, consult your rabbi.

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