Havdalah: Why and how we make Havdalah?

On Friday night we welcome Shabbat with Kiddush, sanctifying the seventh day of the week out of all others. On Saturday night we sanctify Shabbat and mark its ending by separating it from everyday by Havdalah. With the first star appearing in the sky on Shabbat evening, we prepare for the Havdalah ritual. Once three stars become visible in the dark sky and only then, it is Havdalah time, this is due to the fact that the ritual entails things that are forbidden on Shabbat, which are they and what are the steps to perform your own Havdalah? Follow this Havdalah essentials guide:


The Havdalah ceremony consists of five stages:

Introductory blessing: These blessings talk about distinctions between the holy and the everyday, between light and darkness, between the people Israel and the other peoples of the earth, and between the seventh day of rest and the six days of work.

2 Blessing over the wine: your wine cup should be filled to the point a bit runs over and you should hold it in your right hand. Then recite Bore Pri Hageffen blessing, at the end everyone should say ‘Amen’ and pass on the wine cup for everyone to take a sip

Blessing:

Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam, borei peri ha-gafen.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

3 Blessing over the spices: a spice box is to be passed around between everyone present so they have an opportunity to smell the sweet spices. This act’s purpose is to comfort our soul; according to Kabalistic sources, on Shabbat each of us receives an additional soul that leaves with the ending of Shabbat.

Blessing over the spices:

Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam, borei minei v’samim.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, Creator of many kinds of spices.

4 Lighting a braided candle: The Havdalah candle represents the primordial first light of creation; new beginnings, a new commitment, G-d’s gift of fire to Adam. Once the blessing over fire is recited we examine our hands and fingers before the candle’s light. Lighting a candle marks the distinction between the ending of Shabbat, on which lighting fire is forbidden, and the beginning of a new week, creative week.  The use of a multi-wicker candle as opposed to the simple candle used for Kiddush is symbolic: representing the additional soul we were lucky to live with and experience its blessings.

Blessing over the Havdalah candle:

Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam, borei m’orei ha-eish.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, Creator of the fire’s light.

5 Final Havdalah: a blessing is recited over the wine. After the blessing is complete, drink the wine. A few drops of wine are to be poured into a nonflammable saucer, to be used to extinguish the flame from the candle.

Concluding blessing:

Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam, ha-mavdil bein kodesh l’chol, bein or-le’choshekh, bein Yisrael la-amim, bein yom ha-shevi’i l’sheshet y’mai ha-ma’aseh. Barukh ata Adonai, ha-mavdil bein kodesh l’chol.

Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Ruler of the universe, Who distinguishes between the sacred and the profane, between light and darkness, between Israel and other people of the world, between the seventh day and the six days of the week. Blessed are You, Who distinguish between the sacred and the profane.

The ending of the ceremony is the beginning of singing time with popular songs as Shavua tov and Eliyahu Hanavi or Miriam’s song, all expressing the wish or good week and hope for redemption to come.
Continue learning about the significance of Shabbat by reading our article on 8 Shabbat traditions and right before Shabbat ends discover great recipes for an amazing Israeli breakfast, ideal for Shabbat morning. 

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