Reciting “Yom Hashishi” : Permitted?

When reciting Kiddush, the cup should be held with the right hand, since the right side symbolizes the Divine attribute of kindness. Furthermore, Rabbi Eliyahu HaKohen (Midrash Talpiot, § 20, Anaf Kavana) writes that the Kiddush cup should be grasped with all five fingers of the right hand. In the Abuhatzira dynasty, there was a custom to hold the Kiddush cup along with the saucer beneath it with five fingers as per Kabbalah.  The Rashash, however, disagrees and says according to Kabbalah, the saucer should not be held with the cup while reciting Kiddush. 

Kiddush on Friday night is prefaced with the verses beginning with “Yom Hashishi”. (Interestingly, there is a unique Moroccan custom in which “Yom Hashishi” is also chanted, first by the Hazan and then the congregation, prior to the Hazan’s abridged repetition of the Amida during Arvit of Shabbat). At first glance, this presents a Halachic issue since the Gemara (Berachot 12b) teaches that we can only read Torah verses in the way the Moshe Rabbenu recorded them, and not in fragmented form. “Yom Hashishi” is actually the last two words of one verse (Bereshit 1:31) and the remainder of that verse is omitted. Other communities begin “Vayhi Erev Vayhi Boker Yom Hashishi”, but even in this case, the entire verse is not be recited. 

The Ben Ish (Rav Pe’alim, Orah Haim, vol. I, § 11) writes that the Gemara’s ruling only applies when a part of a verse which is longer than two words is fragmented off the original verse. In this case “Yom Hashishi” is only two words and therefore it is permissible. Rabbi Haim Binyamin Pontrimoli (Petah Hadevir, § 271:10) writes that it is permitted to recite “Yom Hashishi” in this way because although the source is the Torah, the verse is said as a form of prayer and not as a public reading of the Torah itself. If one were to read the Torah and fragment the verses then it would be problematic.  Additionally, Rabbi Ben Zion Abba Shaul (Or LeZion, vol. II, ch. 20, § 16) writes that the injunction against reciting fragmented verses only applies to a public setting, such as reading the Torah in the synagogue. If it is done privately, such as at home, then it is permitted. 

Rabbi Haim Palagi (Kaf Hahaim, § 36:2) writes that it in order to avoid any Halachic issues, it is preferable to recite the entire verse beginning with the words. Nevertheless, this appears to be a personal stringency and is not the accepted universal custom. 

Summary: The Kiddush cup should be held with all five fingers of the right hand. The Moroccan custom is begin Kiddush of Friday night with the the verses that begin with the words “Yom Hashishi”.

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