Havdalah Candle

Havdalah Candle

Havdalah Candle – Havdalah is referred to as a Jewish religious ceremony which marks the highly symbolic end of the Sabbath and the ushers for the newest week. This ritual includes lighting the distinct Havdalah candle that comes with various wicks and also include blessing the wine as well as smelling the sweet spices. The Shabbat usually ends in a Saturday night upon the presence of the three stars above the sky. Some communities delay Havdalah to be able to prolong the Shabbat.


As for the Kiddush, the Havdalah is being recited over one cup of grape juice or kosher wine although their beverages might be used of grape juice or wine is not available. Spices known as besamim in Hebrew is usually kept in artistically and beautifully designed and decorative quality spice container to honor and beautify Mitzvah is essentially handed around so everyone can easily smell that special fragrance.

In numerous Mizrahi and Sephardi communities, there are branches of highly aromatic plants utilized for this particular purpose, whereas the Ashkenazi has used cloves traditionally. Special braided Havdallah candle having more than a wick is lit, and the blessing is being recited. In case special Havdallah candle isn’t available, two candles can be used, and two flames joined when saying the blessing.

Upon reciting words like “Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam, bo’re m’orei ha’esh,” its customary for participants to hold hands up to the Havdallah candle and see the reflection of lights on their fingernails. As a conclusion of the Havdalah, leftover wine is poured to small dish and candle is extinguished in it.  This acts as a sign that candle was lighted solely for Havdalah mitzvah.

After the ceremony, it has been part of the custom to sing the “Eliyahu Hanavi or Elijah the Prophet and then bless one another with words “Shavua Tov in Hebrew or Gute Vokh on Yiddish which means have a good week.

Havdalah is also being recited after different biblical holidays such as Passover, Simchat Torah, Rosh Hashanah, Shavuot and Yom Kippur. Blessing over the wine is said along with the prayer that separates the holy from every day, however, not the prayers over Havdalah candle or spices except for the conclusion of the Yom Kippur when prayers over Havdalah candle are recited.

When major holidays follow the Shabbat, Havdalah service is being recited as part of Kiddush holiday and blessings over the spices isn’t said. Special-braided Havdalah candle isn’t used since this might not be extinguished upon the service, but instead, blessings are recited over festival candles.


The Havdalah aims to require an individual to use hall his five senses to be able to smell spices, witness the candle’s flame, feel its heat, taste the delicious wine and hear the blessings. Following the usual Shabbat, the order of prayers tends to correspond to acrostic with the following initials:

·         Ner (candle)

·         Besamin (spices)

·         Yayin (wine)

·         Havdalah (prayer)

Order of prayers, when the Havdalah is combined with the kiddush, is known by the Acrostic Yaknhaz.


The core blessings of Havdalah are in the following paragraph of which, there are imperative variants:

Blessed art thou, God, our Lord, King of the Universe
Who distinguishes
Holiness from the everyday,
Light from dark,
Israel from the nations,
The seventh day from the six workdays.
Blessed art thou, God,
Who distinguishes holiness from the everyday.

The texts of Havdalah service exists in two primary forms, Sephardic and Ashkenazic. The introductory verse in Ashkenazic version is obtained from biblical books of Esther, Psalms, and Isaiah. In Sephardic Liturgy, introduction starts with these words: ראשון לציון, Rishon L’tsion and also includes biblical verses that describe God giving success and light interspersed with liturgical prose. There are four blessings over the candle, spices and wine praising and worshipping God for the separation of the profane and holy and these are virtually identical across different traditions.

בין ישראל לעמים, bein Yisrael l’amim a phrase that means ‘between Israel and the nations’ was based on the Leviticus. However, in Reconstructionist Judaism, this phrase was omitted because Mordechai Kaplan rejected the biblical concept or idea of “chosenness.” The modern tunes for the Havdalah are mainly based on melodies by Neshama Carlebach, Debbie Friedman, and Shlomo Carlebach.

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