Havdalah is a Jewish religious ceremony that marks the symbolic end of Shabbat and holidays, and ushers in the new week. In Judaism, Shabbat ends -- and the new week begins -- at nightfall on Saturday. Havdalah may be recited as soon as three stars are visible in the night sky. Some communities delay the Havdalah until later, in order to prolong Shabbat. If for some reason one cannot recite Havdalah on Saturday night, it may be observed as late as Tuesday evening.

Havdalah is normally recited over kosher wine or kosher grape juice, although other beverages (except for water) may be used if wine or grape juice are not available. On completion of the Shabbat, a special braided Havdalah candle with more than one wick is lit, and a prayer is recited, and it is customary to gaze at one's fingernails reflecting the light of the candle. Spices, often stored in a decorative spice container, are handed around so that everyone can smell the fragrance. In the Sephardi community, branches of aromatic plants are used for this purpose. After Yom Kippur, a candle is used but not spices.

Havdalah is intended to require a person to use all five senses. Taste the wine, smell the spices, see the flame of the candle and feel its heat, and hear the blessings.

At the conclusion of Havdalah, the leftover wine is poured into a small dish and the candle is extinguished in it, as a sign that the candle was lit solely for the mitzvah of havdalah. Based on Psalms 19:9, "the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes," some Jews dip a finger into the leftover wine and touch their eyes or pockets with it. Because it was used for a mitzvah, the wine is considered a "segulah"," or good omen. (reference - http://www.chabad.org/article.asp?AID=16240)

When a major holiday follows Shabbat, the Havdalah service is recited as part of the holiday "kiddush." No spices are used, and although the blessing is recited over the candle, the candle used is not the special braided havdalah candle, but rather the Festival candles that are lit. This variation shows that the holiday time continues.

Some Hassidic Jews, particularly (though not exclusively) women, recite the Yiddish prayer God of Abraham before Havdalah. After the Havdalah candle, it is customary to sing "Eliyahu Hanavi" and bless one another with the words "Shavua' tov" (Hebrew) or "Gute vokh" (Yiddish) (Have a good week). In some households, the participants break into a dance.

The text

The text of Havdalah contains an introductory paragraph, followed by four blessings; a blessing on the wine, on the spices, on the candle and on the separation between the holy and the mundane. See List of Jewish prayers and blessings: Havdalah. The Ashkenazic version of the text of the introductory paragraph made up of Bible verses (used by both Ashkenazic and Hasidic Jews) which come from Psalms, the Book of Isaiah and the Book of Esther. Most chassidim and those following the Sefard prayer rite recite the Yiddish prayer "Gott fun Avrohom". The introduction to the Sefardic version is slightly different.

The order of elements when havdala is combined with kiddush (e.g., on a Saturday night that is Yom Tov) is known by the acrostic Yaknhaz. [ [http://www.huc.edu/libraries/exhibits/haggadah/plate2.html Exhibits & Library Guides ] ] This is the initial letters of Yayin (wine), Kiddush (blessing the day), Ner (candle), Havdala (the havdala blessing) and Zman (time, ie shehechiyanu).

External links

* [http://www.aish.com/pathways/externallinks/videolink_havdallah.asp Video: Havdalah How-To]
* [http://www.berachot.org Your Complete Guide to Brochos]
* [http://www.chabad.org/article.asp?aid=253217 Havdalah Wizard] chabad.org
* [http://www.askmoses.com/qa_list.html?h=203 Frequently asked questions on Havdalah] askmoses.com
* [http://www.jewfaq.org/prayer/havdalah.htm Judaism 101 Havdalah Home Ritual]
* [http://www.hillel.org/jewish/rituals/shabbat/havdalah_ritual.htm Hillel Havdalal, the Ritual]
* [http://www.myjewishlearning.com/daily_life/Shabbat/Overview_Shabbat_at_Home/Havdalah/HowTo_Havdalah.htm My Jewish Learning, multimedia presentation on How to Make Havdalah]
* [http://www.kakatuv.com/pdfs/shabbat-at-homeR/08havdalahR.pdf Transliteration and translation of Havdalah prayer, Reform] (.pdf from [http://www.kakatuv.com www.kakatuv.com] )
* [http://www.judaica-guide.com/havdalah/ Havdalah in the Judaica Guide]
* [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7336371483203241985 Havdala in Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach's Style] in Israel from [http://rosh-hagiva-tv.blogspot.com/ Rosh Hagiva Tv Site]
* [http://www.aish.com/shabbatthemes/ritualandinspiration/The_Magic_of_Havdalah.asp The Meaning of Havdalah]


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  • HAVDALAH — (Heb. הַבְדָּלָה; distinction ), blessing recited at the termination of Sabbaths and festivals, in order to emphasize the distinction between the sacred and the ordinary, with regard to the Sabbath (or festival) that is departing and the or  … …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Havdalah — Un conjunto de plata de ley Havdalah que contiene un candelabro y un especiero. Observando el cierre del ritu …   Wikipedia Español

  • Havdalah — La havdalah (en hébreu : הבדלה) est une prière juive dite le soir de shabbat et qui exprime la séparation du kodesh (saint) et du hol (ordinaire), c est à dire le passage du shabbat aux jours normaux de la semaine. Cette prière se dit dès la …   Wikipédia en Français

  • havdalah — also habdalah noun Usage: often capitalized Etymology: Hebrew habhdālāh separation Date: 1733 a Jewish ceremony marking the close of a Sabbath or holy day …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Havdalah — Seph. /hahv dah lah /; Ashk. /hahv daw leuh/, n. Hebrew. a religious ceremony, observed by Jews at the conclusion of the Sabbath or a festival, that consists of blessings over wine, spices, and the light of a candle. Also, Habdalah. [habhdalah… …   Universalium

  • Havdalah — noun the Jewish ceremony that concludes the Sabbath or other Holy days …   Wiktionary

  • Havdalah — n. Jewish religious ceremony that officially signifies the end of the Sabbath day (involves blessing wine, candlelight, and spices) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Havdalah — noun variant spelling of Habdalah …   English new terms dictionary

  • havdalah — hav•da•lah [[t]hɑvˈdɔ lə, ˌhɑv dɑˈlɑ[/t]] n. jud a religious ceremony observed by Jews at the conclusion of the Sabbath or a festival • Etymology: 1730–40; < Heb habhdālāh lit., division, separation …   From formal English to slang

  • havdalah — /ˈhavdələ/ (say hahvduhluh) noun Judaism a ritual prayer and blessing marking the end of the Jewish Sabbath on Saturday evening at sunset. Also, habdala …  

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