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Sivan 4, 5776

Woman doing Kiddush for husband


Rabbi David Sperling

Question:
My wife has expressed the desire to do Kiddush every Friday night for the family. From my understanding a woman can only do Kiddush for a man when he is not able to do it himself. I thought that maybe she can do Kiddush and then afterwards I can do Kiddush.

What is the halakha in a situation like this?


Answer:
Shalom,
Thank you for your question. The question of a woman making Kiddush for a man is addressed in halacha (see Shulchan Aruch, Orech Chaim 271, 2 and the Mishna Brurah there 4-5). The law is that a woman is obligated in kiddush just as a man is, and she may therefore fulfill the mitzvah by making Kiddush herself. She may even make Kiddush for a man (just as a man makes Kiddush for a woman). This is true even when the man could make Kiddush himself – none the less, she may make Kiddush for him.

The Mishna Brurah writes a woman should not recite Kiddush for men who are not members of her immediate family, as this could be seen as disrespectable. This comment implies that for the mother of the family to make Kiddush for her family is fine. None the less the universal practice is for the man of the house to make Kiddush. All else being equal, there is no reason to change this practice.

However, if your wife expresses a desire to make Kiddush for you and the family, and such an arrangement will add peace and harmony to your house, give joy and happiness to your wife, and not cause any argument or tension in your family – then, in my opinion, you should adopt such a practice. But, if there are issues of discord you two should try to work out a compromise.

As we wrote, when there are guests at the table who are not members of the family, the Mishna Brurah rules against a women making Kiddush for the men. None the less, there are halachic grounds to allow such a practice, and they should be relied upon rather than cause your wife displeasure ( - but she should also take into consideration any discomfort on the side of the guests).

May you be blessed that the holiness of the Shabbat Kiddush spread over your house, and imbue you all with a closeness to Hashem, love and light.




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