This might look like just a regular kiddush cup to most of you folks, but to me it symbolizes a whole lot more.
Four years ago, when I became a single mother, my friend Z! purchased this for me. The kiddush cup that had been used in our house up until then left with my ex. Which was fine. He was the one that used it twice a weekend since we had first been wed. He was attached to it and totally entitled to have it.
Z! bought this kiddush cup for me to use every Shabbat from then on, something that was mine, that had not been shared. If you look closely it’s more feminine than most of the bechers that you see. I have used this becher faithfully every Shabbat that I have been home, ever since.
That first Shabbat, making kiddush out of my new kiddush cup, was emotional. I had become the head of the household overnight, the one responsible for everything. I was now in charge of religious observance and rites in the house, and I was the only one old enough to be responsible to make kiddush. There were many times that my voice cracked while saying kiddush, that the tears rolled down my face, that I was overwhelmed with my single motherhood.
Within 2 years my oldest son became bar mitzvah and relished the opportunity to take over this religious rite. Initially I allowed him to use my kiddush cup and say the blessings every Shabbat that the kids were with me. I sat back and shepped nachas as he proudly voiced the holy words. And yes, there were many happy tears too!! But occasionally I needed to reconnect with that rite. I needed to remember the person I was that first Shabbat as a single mom, and how far I had come. How despite all the hardship that life rained down on me, that I remained true to the core Torah values, that I encouraged the same in my children.
Very soon this kiddush cup will be polished up, and put in a place of honour in my breakfront in the new home we will share with the KoD. He has his own becher that means a lot to him, and I am content to sit back and be blessed with his kiddush. Z!’s becher however will have pride of place and will always remind me of how far I have come.
Beautiful post hadassah. May you and your KoD’s kos always be filled with many brochos! You deserve it!
so nice of your friend to buy you your very own kiddush cup!
Interesting becher. The hammered look is quite retro. Thats how they used to make most silver cups, 18-19 century.
Now, with contemporary smithing and the relative availability of silver, the hammered look is not so widely used.
Interestingly enough, we received last year a shipment of silver hammered cups. It seems to be fashionable these days.
In any event, enjoy both your new and old cups!
May the becher always serve as a reminder of your strength and may you never “have to” use it.
“powerful” is the word that comes to mind here! thank you for sharing your journey-through-symbolism. even though we don;t know each other– i’m proud of you and your son for the brachas that you’ve said. your kiddish cup is lovely. 🙂
I could just see hadassah giving this kiddush cup as a gift to a recent divorcee who could use the support and a good luck cup!
Very cool. Thanks for letting us in to see this sentiment.
This cup will always hold a special place for you.
You may want to consider using it as “your” kos at the Pesach sedorim.
Some interesting analogies to be drawn there as well……
Thank you H…for reminding me of yet another humble part of your journey..at which part I sometimes even think, “our” journey!!!
you guys are SO much a part of my journey. Could not have got thru without my sisters. Love ya!
Beautiful written post, may you get many brachos in the future!
I am so happy to see it retired!! There were/are so many shabbosim that I wish I could have been there with you in person. It is really nice to know that you had a reminder. Thank you for sharing this, and for a really great friendship.
I find it unfortunate that saying kiddush is so strongly associated with the absence of a male partner, instead of just the regular old mitzva that it is.
I’ve noted of late that anything remotely feminist (women engaged in ritual) is associated with singlehood, while mitzvas that many women have found burdensome and offensive is associated with marriage (mikvah, hair covering) .
Very effective community control.
Interesting POV on some of these rituals that we perform. I always think that any observance of a mitzvah is for Hashem, not the community. I feel this is why we have so many types of Jewish communities.
This idea that mikvah and hair covering are control methods within a community and not an expression of love for Hashem and His ways is a bit twisted in that it takes G-d right out of the equation which is the reason we perform these mitzvot to begin with.
It is perferable to have Kiddush recited by a male over the age of bar mitzvah, just like havdalah.
Do you consider giving tzedakah a means of control? This is just a regular plain old mitzvah…. or is it just the gender specific mitzvahs that rankle you?
Yes there are many forms of community control. I object to most of them. I support the few that are actually designed to get people to behave like decent human beings.
(BTW that opinion exists (as a function of religious literacy “belonging” to men and not to women), but Kiddush is not a gender specific mitzva according to most opinions. Neither are many, many rituals performed by men. And while there’s no halacha about it, a single woman who covers her hair would be way more scandalous than a married woman who doesn’t. )
Kisarita, I believe that you are referring to “human control”, not community control. It was perfectly acceptable to steal, lie and kill before Hashem, in his infinite wisdom, gave us the Torah so that we would learn how to treat other human beings- Jew and Non-Jew alike.
Just to flip the situation, I would dare say that if a man were to choose to shave his head, and therefore cut his peius off, it would as well be “scandalous” in certain communities. Again, not because of this idea of “community control” but because it is a mitzvah and an avodah to Hashem that a man NOT do these things.
There is no mitzvah for a woman to cover her hair before marriage.