In the previous Halacha we have discussed the fundamental laws of Kiddush on Shabbat. Let us now discuss an important provision which exists regarding the Mitzvah of Kiddush: Kiddush may only be recited in the place one eats a meal. This means that if one hears Kiddush being recited by another individual and the listener does not taste anything in the place he has heard Kiddush, he has not fulfilled his obligation of hearing Kiddush, for Kiddush can only be performed in a place one is eating a meal, as our Sages expound from the verse “And you shall call the Shabbat a delight”-The calling of Shabbat (i.e. Kiddush) must be in the place of delight (i.e. one’s meal). Thus, if one recites Kiddush on wine and has not eaten a meal, one has not fulfilled one’s obligation to recite Kiddush and if one wishes to eat a meal later, one must first recite Kiddush again. Therefore, if one hears Kiddush in the synagogue or in a friend’s house and has not eaten there and then goes home, one must first recite Kiddush at home and only then may one proceed to eat whatever he wishes.
When we say that one must eat a meal in the place where one recites Kiddush, this does not necessarily mean that one must sit down to a bread meal; rather, even if one eats a Kezayit (approximately 27 grams) of cakes or cookies which is enough to recite an after-blessing on them, this is likewise considered a meal regarding this matter. Similarly, if one drinks a Revi’it (81 cc or 2.8 fluid ounces) of wine or grape juice which is the amount necessary to recite an after-blessing, this is likewise considered a meal in this regard and one will have fulfilled one’s obligation of reciting or hearing Kiddush.
There are those who participate in a Kiddush which is being held in the synagogue for some festive occasion and eat only some sweets and the like but do not partake in a Kezayit of cakes or cookies. It would seem that this custom is incorrect since Kiddush may only be recited in a place one eats a meal.
Nevertheless, Maran zt”l discusses this matter at length in his Chazon Ovadia-Shabbat, Volume 1 (which he authored toward the end of his life) and rules that those who act leniently and taste some sweets and other minor food items served at a Kiddush after prayer services in the synagogue have on whom to rely, for some are of the opinion that this is not forbidden since several Rishonim maintain that the prohibition to eat before hearing Kiddush applies only to the Kiddush of Shabbat night and not to the Kiddush of Shabbat day. Although the Halacha clearly does not follow this opinion, we may nevertheless combine this with the opinion of the Poskim who rule that since the individual reciting Kiddush has drunk the proper amount of wine, just as all of the listeners have fulfilled their obligation with his “Boreh Peri Ha’Gefen” blessing, they have likewise fulfilled their obligation of partaking of a “meal” through his drinking as well.
Thus, halachically speaking, those who wish to taste some sweets and other delicacies served at such Kiddush buffets without having eaten Mezonot items have on whom to rely. However, those with fear of Heaven do not partake of the Kiddush at all and merely wait until they come home and make Kiddush in accordance with Halacha. It is nevertheless preferable to notify the host of the Kiddush in the synagogue to make sure that each of the guests is prepared the proper amount of cake or grape juice in order for them to be able to eat a “meal” in the place where they have heard Kiddush. This is indeed the custom in most synagogues led by G-d-fearing individuals that when a Kiddush is being held, the appropriate amount of Mezonot items and/or grape juice is handed out to the congregation so that they may fulfill their obligation of reciting Kiddush according to Halacha.
Summary: Kiddush can only be recited in a place one eats a meal. Thus, if one hears Kiddush but does not partake of a meal in the place one has heard Kiddush, one has not fulfilled his obligation of hearing Kiddush and when one arrives home, one must once again recite Kiddush and eat a meal in that place. Regarding this law, eating a Kezayit (27 grams) of cakes or cookies or drinking a Revi’it (2.8 ounces) of wine likewise constitutes a meal. If a Kiddush is being held somewhere and there is no cake or wine to partake of, those who act leniently and partake of the other delicacies served there indeed have on whom to rely. However, G-d-fearing individuals do not rely on this leniency and they do not eat until they return home, recite Kiddush, and eat, as prescribed by Halacha.