We are always careful to have the Challah in the Shabbat table when we are going to recite kiddush Friday night (covered of course). Where is this requirement noted?

And is it also required on Shabbat morning to have the challah in the table for the kiddush time?


2 Answers 2


There was a Talmudic idea that the table should not be brought out until after kiddush:

Pesachim 100b

תניא נמי הכי (ושוין) שאין מביאין את השולחן אלא אם כן קידש ואם הביא פורס מפה ומקדש

It was taught likewise: And they both agree that one must not bring the table unless one has recited kiddush; but if it was brought, a cloth is spread [over it] and kiddush is recited. (Soncino translation)

The reason for not bringing out the table until after kiddush is given by various rishonim, starting with Tosafot, ultimately going back to Sheiltot of R. Achai, and codified clearly by R. Yaakov ben Asher:

Tur O.C. 271

וכשישב לאכול יהיה לו מפה פרוסה על הלחם דתניא אין מביאים את השלחן אא"כ קידש ואם הביא פורס מפה ומקדש אע"פ שצריך שיערוך שלחנו מבע"י ודאי צריך שיהיה ערוך ומסודר במקום אחר ומ"מ אין מביאין אותו לפניו אלא עד אחר הקידוש כדי שיהא ניכר שבא לכבוד שבת הילכך אם הביאוהו קודם הקידוש פורס עליו מפה כאילו אינו כאן ומקדש ומסיר המפה

And when he sits to eat he should have a cloth spread over the bread, for we learned in a beraita: "Don't bring out the table unless kiddush has been made; and if they brought out the table, spread a cloth and make kiddush". Even though one needs to set the table while it is still day [i.e. before Shabbat] it certainly needs to be set and arranged in a different place, and nevertheless it should not be brought before him until after kiddush, in order that it be recognizable that it is coming for the honor of Shabbat. Therefore, if they brought it out before kiddush, spread a cloth over it as if it's not there, and make kiddush and [then] remove the cloth.

However, Tosafot already noted that we can't really do this nowadays because we don't have individual small tables that can be easily brought in at the right moment. We have one big table, and to bring it in after kiddush would cause too much of an interruption between kiddush and the meal. Therefore, we have no recourse but to have the table already present during kiddush, and therefore (as mentioned in the beraita) we cover the bread to make it as if it's not present until after kiddush.

This too is codified by R. Yaakov Ben Asher:

Tur O.C. 271

וכתבו התוספות דדוקא בימיהם שהיו להם שלחנות קטנים כל אחד שלחנו לפניו ולא היה עליהם טורח להפסיק ולהביא השלחן אחר הקידוש אבל לדידן ששלחנות שלנו גדולים וטורח להביאם אחר הקידוש ולהפסיק בין קידוש לסעודה נוהגין להביאם לכתחלה קודם הקידוש ולפרוס מפה ולקדש

And Tosafot wrote that it was specifically in their days [i.e. Talmudic times] when they had small tables — each person had his table in front of him — and it was not an inconvenience for them to stop and bring the table after kiddush. But for us where our tables are large, and it is inconvenient to bring them after kidddush and to interrupt between kiddush and the meal, we are accustomed to bring them in the beginning before kiddush and to spread a cloth [over the bread] and make kiddush.

In other words, the reason why we have the bread on the table is that we don't want to make a whole disruption between kiddush and the meal. And we can't simply have the table already out but without the bread, because as alluded to in the first citation from the Tur, the table is supposed to be set before Shabbat. Thus, we have no choice but to have the bread on the table, so we follow the beraita's advice for such a situation, and we cover the bread.


Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim, 271:9 writes:

צריך שתהיה מפה על השולחן תחת הפת ומפה אחרת פרוסה על גביו.‏

You need to have a table covered, under the bread, as well as over the bread. He writes his comment with regard to the laws of Kiddish. Implicit in the Shulchan Aruch is the idea that the Bread should have been brought out before you recited Kiddish, in contradistinction to the times of the Gemara when Challah would have been brought out later (see Tosfos, Pesachim 100b).

On that writes the Taz (ibid, 12):

פרוסה. בטור בשם ירושלמי שלא יראה הפת בשתו שאין מקדשין עליו אלא על היין ולפ"ז אם מקדש על הפת א"צ לכסות עליו מפה אבל לטעם אחר שכ' הטור וז"ל ואני שמעתי טעם לעשות זכר למן שהי' מונח בקופסא טל למעלה וטל למטה עכ"ל ממילא גם במקדש על הפת צריך לכסות במפה וכן אנו נוהגין:‏

So that the bread should not feel embarrassed because you're making a beracha on the wine first. (This should be extended as an a foritori (kol Shekein) as not embarrass people either, especially on Shabbos). There is another reason - as a remembrance for the Man that was covered with dew both below and above the Man.

However, the Gr"a argues, based on the Gemara Pesachim, 100b, Tosfos, ד״ה שאין (see Ma'aseh Rav 118). He says not to have any challah on the Shabbos Table at all when reciting Kiddish.

The Mishnah Berura (Seif Katan 41) writes the same obligation (for those who have the Minhag to have the Challos on the table during kiddish) applies equally on Friday Night and Shabbos Day (and Seudas Shlishis - there is some discussion in the Rishonim about having wine during Seudas Shlishis also):

במפה. וכן נוהגים ומשמע בפמ"ג שלכל הטעמים די במקדש על היין שיהיה מכוסה עד אחר שגמר הקידוש וכן בשחרית צריך ג"כ להיות הפת מכוסה עד אחר הקידוש

Thus, if your minhag is to have the challah out during kiddish, then your source is the Shulchan Aruch, who brings the Tur in the name of the Yerushalmi. Then you should do so in the night and the day.

If however, your custom is to follow the Gr"a then you need not have the Challah at the table for kiddish.

  • My question was more whether bread must be present or can be heating up while reciting kiddush
    – samyb8
    Commented Nov 4, 2018 at 14:29
  • You did not ask that question. You asked for the source, and whether it applied also to the day. All that was answered, two reasons given, and the Minhag of the Gr"a was given which, based on the Gemara in Pesachim says you shouldn't have Challah at all on the table. Where did you ask anything about whether it must be present? In any event I gave you two prevalent minhagim. The Shulchan Aruch which says you should have it present, and the Gr"a (Vilna Gaon) which says you shouldn't.
    – user18155
    Commented Nov 4, 2018 at 16:02
  • Thanks for your answer. I just read again my question and I think it is clear I was asking regarding presence of challah during kiddush for night and day
    – samyb8
    Commented Nov 4, 2018 at 17:51
  • 1
    This doesn't really answer the question. This discusses how to deal with the challah given that it's on the table. It doesn't provide the source, or the reason, why the challah should be on the table in the first place.
    – Alex
    Commented Nov 5, 2018 at 4:10
  • Read the OP's question - he asked, GIVEN that he ALREADY has CHALLAH on the table, what is the SOURCE for that. A source for an established minhag is the the SHULCHAN ARUCH. Not the Gemara, because, as Tosfos notes, it is not the same as nowadays. HE ASKED the source for doing it at the Night and Day, and the MISHNAH BERURA was given. I ADDED that the GR"A, based on the Gemara (which I cited, which you brought in full, together with the Tur, which was cited by the TAZ I quoted two of the three reasons, which were relevant.
    – user18155
    Commented Nov 5, 2018 at 8:45

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