A Kiddush cup is a special cup that is set aside for a specific purpose.
Israel is commanded by G-d to be holy as He is holy. The word holy in Hebrew is, kadosh, it means to be set apart – not for common use.
The kiddush cup is a holy vessel. It is used during special occasions for the service of G-d. It used for Shabbos, Yom Tovim/Holy Days, Bris Milah/circumcisions, etc.
The kiddush cup is only for drinking kosher wine – wine that meets the strictest of conditions according to Jewish law.
A Jew does not drink milk or soda from the cup for this would remove its status as, holy, or set apart. It would degrade the cup to nothing, no more than what a Styrofoam cup would be on any given day.
We all are like the kiddush cup, we all have a purpose in life. The Jew has the commandment to be holy as G-d id holy. They are to be the keepers of the covenant given to them at Mount Sinai – they are given as a nation 613 mitzvos to do. Now most non-Jews do not understand that not every commandment is given to just one person for within the 613 there are laws that pertain to women, men, the Land of Israel, Levites, priest and High Priest and so forth.
The Jew has the commandment to be set apart, not only does the Torah set them apart they themselves must guard themselves as to not entangled with the ways of the non-Jew, for if they do they remover their kadosh status. They must only use kosher wine in their cups – the kosher wine represents a very strict code of conduct for the use of service for the Most High King – being careful is an understatement for them – it is a command.
So what about the rest of us, those who are not Jewish, those who do not have the commandment to be holy or set apart?
We as non-Jews are not supposed to copy the Jew in their set apartness as that would be stealing from them and G-d since He did not give us that commandment.
But we can look upon their holiness and learn to apply the principle of set apartness.
What do I mean?
We as the non-Jewish nations are given 7 basic laws that govern our lives. Those 7 laws when studied in depth will reveal around 66 other sub laws that fall under the 7.
Our laws are:
- The belief in a One G-d who is without any form nor shall He take on any kind of form. He is not divided into parts, persons, or godheads of any kind. To describe Him as such diminishes Him and lead one to heresy & idolatry.
- We are not to blaspheme or curse G-d
- We are not to commit any kind of theft.
- We are not to murder
- We are not to take part in any kind of forbidden sexual relations such as adultery, beastialilty or homosexuality.
- We are not to eat meat from a limb torn from a living animal, this also teaches us many ways to take care of the creation and the proper treatment of all living things.
- Set up courts of justice.
With this in mind what lesson can a non-Jew learn from the kiddush cup?
With the above laws we can fill our lives with goodness and peace toward all peoples. We may not have the commandment of holiness but we do have the directive to be righteous.
Righteous does not mean sinless.
A righteous person is one who strives to be obedient in the commands that he is given, he is also aware that he is only a man and not a god and that he is prone to failure. But he does not let this failure to stop him. He gets back up after every fall and continues on in the awareness of what caused his fall and to do his best not to do it again.
King Solomon tells us in Proverbs 24 that a righteous man falls seven times but he raises again and again but the wicked stumble under adversity.
Ezekiel sheds light on the righteous as well.
…the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
When a person is righteous and falls his failure is not laid upon him, it is forgotten. A righteous person recognizes what caused him to fall and ask for forgiveness and determines not to do the act again that caused his fall. This is what is meant that the righteousness of the righteous is upon him.
Ezekiel 18:20 goes hand in hand with Proverbs 24 – for the wicked will stumble in adversity – the wickedness of the wicked will be upon him – a wicked person will not recognize what caused his failure – if he does he will not repent of it, most like ly he will blame his fall on someone or something else but himself (the devil made me do it). Because of this he will continue to stumble and all his failures are upon him and are not removed.
We as non-Jews have a directive to fill our cups-our lives with righteous living which is produced by the observance and study of the 7 Laws of Noah.
This is our lesson from the kiddush cup.
Terry W. Hayes
Aka. Bachor Zaken ben Eiver