Each individual should have a cup of wine and/or grape juice. The cup must contain a minimum of a revi’is, approximately 3.5 fluid ounces in contemporary measure. The Kiddush is recited while standing. We fill our cups while they are resting on the table. They are then lifted with the right hand, transferred to the left hand and then lowered into the palm of the right hand. The right hand should be slightly cupped to simulate a vessel, with the four fingers raised, and the thumb held to the side. Preferably, the cup should be held at least three handsbreadths (approximately 12 inches) above the table. 1 It is not necessary to have another person fill one’s winecup.

Women and girls are obligated to drink four cups of wine and/or grape juice. If there is an adult male leading the Seder, it is customary for them to fulfill their obligation to hear Kiddush by listening to his recitation of the prayer and reciting Amen. Afterwards, they drink the wine or the grape juice from their own cup.

אתקינו Prepare the meal of the supernal King. This is the meal of the Holy One, blessed be He, and His Shechinah.

On a Sabbath eve, the Kiddush begins as follows:

יום The sixth day. Heaven and earth and all their elements were completed. On the seventh day, G‑d completed the work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. And G‑d blessed the seventh day and made it holy, for on it G‑d rested from all His work, which in creating He had done.

When Pesach falls on a weekday, the Kiddush begins here:

סברי Attention, gentlemen:

ברוך Blessed are You, G‑d, our L‑rd, King of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

ברוך Blessed are You, G‑d, our L‑rd, King of the universe, who has chosen us from among all nations, raised us above all tongues, and sanctified us by His commandments. And You, G‑d, have given us lovingly

{on the Sabbath:

Sabbaths for rest,}

festivals for rejoicing, holidays and seasons for gladness,

{on the Sabbath:

this Sabbath day and}

this day of the Feast of Matzos, this day of holy assembly, the season of our freedom

{on the Sabbath:

in love},

a holy assembly commemorating the exodus from Egypt.

For You have chosen us and sanctified us from among all the nations, and

{on the Sabbath:

the Sabbath and}

Your holy festivals

{on the Sabbath:

in love and favor},

in gladness and joy, have You granted us as a heritage. Blessed are You, G‑d, who sanctifies

{on the Sabbath:

the Sabbath,

Israel and the festive seasons.

When Pesach falls on Saturday night, the following blessings are added to fulfill the mitzvah of Havdalah. When reciting the blessing for fire, the prevailing Lubavitch custom is not to place the candles next to each other, nor to join them at their wicks as is usually done for Havdalah. Similarly, it is not customary to look at one’s fingernails at this time. Instead, one merely looks at the candles when reciting the following blessing:

ברוך Blessed are You, G‑d, our L‑rd, King of the universe, who creates the lights of fire.

ברוך Blessed are You, G‑d, our L‑rd, King of the universe, who distinguishes between the sacred and the mundane, between light and darkness, between Israel and the nations, between the seventh day and the six days of work. You have made a distinction between the holiness of the Sabbath and the holiness of a festival, and have sanctified the seventh day above the six days of work. You have set apart and made holy Your people Israel with Your holiness. Blessed are You, G‑d, who distinguishes between the holy and the holy.

Regardless of the night on which Pesach falls, we continue:

ברוך Blessed are You, G‑d, our L‑rd, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.

We should drink the wine leaning on our left side. It is the prevailing Lubavitch custom to finish the entire cup without interruption or pause.


The very first act of the Pesach Seder is Kiddush, sanctification. U’Rechatz, washing, comes afterwards.

Generally, it is necessary to cleanse oneself before undergoing sanctification. On Pesach, however, this is unnecessary; G‑d has already prepared us for sanctification. The purification of U’Rechatz serves a different purpose, enabling us to make further advances within the realm of holiness itself (the Rebbe Rashab).2

This day of the Feast of Matzos

There are three names for the holiday — the Feast of Matzos, the season of our freedom, and Pesach.

These names are interrelated. Matzah represents bittul, selflessness. This quality leads to true freedom, and allows for Pesach (lit. “a jump”), a radical leap forward in our divine service (the Rebbe).3

The Jews refer to the holiday as Pesach, telling the praise of G‑d, who passed over the homes of the Jewish people in Egypt. The Torah, G‑d’s word, calls the holiday “the Feast of Matzos,” relating the praise of the nation that journeyed into the desert without adequate provisions (R. Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev).4