Saturday, September 5, 2015


As Jews the prayers we recite and the rituals we observe create strong links in an historical chain that dates back for more than two thousand years. The observance of  Havdala creates the separation between Shabbat and the rest of the work week. It occurs at the end of the day when three stars appear in the sky. It's a ritual intended to use all five senses: to taste wine, smell the spices, see the flame and feel its heat, and hear the blessings.

A series of biblical verses is recited.

A cup of wine is filled to the brim and held in a cupped hand, the Havdalah braided candle is lit, and
the wine is blessed.

The second blessing is over spices - besamim. They're usually stored in a decorative container and passed around so that everyone can smell the frangrance as compensation marks the loss of the specialness of Shabbat.

The third blessing over fire is made with the candle of several wicks, symbolizing the many uses of fire in our lives. Lighting the candle represents the separation of Shabbat from the work week, since it is forbidden to light a candle during Shabbat. The custom is to hold one's fingers up to candle and gaze at reflection of light on fingernails.

The fourth and final blessing is the Havdalah blessing itself which signifies the separation of the holy from the everyday. The wine is drunk except for a little bit that is poured into a dish. The candle is extinguished in it to indicate that the candle was lit exclusively for the celebration of Havdalah. The little finger is dipped into the wine and touched to the eyes to commemorate the verse in Psalm 19:19 'The commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes'

At then end everyone wishes each other Shavuah Tov, to have a good week.

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