A beautiful ceremony marks the end of Shabbat — Havdalah, or "separation." It's a lovely way to greet the new week. You can say Havdalah as part of the evening service after Shabbat in synagogue, or recite the blessings over the multi-flame candle, the spices, and the wine at home. It's nice to look into the eyes of the people in your family and see the candle flame reflected in them.
The short ceremony comprises four blessings. At the end, it is customary to sing songs or greet each other with wishes for a good week.
Light the braided Havdalah candle, but don’t say a blessing yet.
The first blessing that we say is over the wine. Lift the cup of wine and say:
Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam, borei peri ha-gafen.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.
The second blessing is over the spices. Lift the spices and say:
Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam, borei minei v'samim.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, Creator of many kinds of spices.
After saying the blessing, inhale the sweet smell. Pass around the spice box so that everybody can inhale the scent deeply.
The third blessing is over the lights of the candle, which we have already lit. We say:
Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam, borei m'orei ha-eish.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, Creator of the lights of fire.
After the blessing, hold up your hands to feel the warmth of the braided candle. To make use of the light, some people look for the reflection of the candle light in their fingernails. Another custom has people start with fingers cupped toward their palms and slowly opening them to see the light on their palms.
The last blessing is the Havdalah, separation, 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, Lord 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 distinguishes between the sacred and the profane.
We then sip the wine and sing Eliyahu HaNavi while slowly lowering the Havdalah candle into the wine so that the candle is extinguished as the song ends.
Eliyahu ha’Navi, Eliyahu ha’Tishbi, Eliyahu ha-Giladi. Bim’heira v'yameinu yavo eleinu, im Mashiach ben David.
May Elijah the Prophet come to us, heralding the Messiah, soon and in our days!
It is customary, at the ritual's conclusion, to sing "Shavua Tov" (a good week) and turn on the room's lights as it ends.
Shavua tov (8x)
A good week, a week of peace, may gladness reign and joy increase. (2x)
Return to the Guide to Shabbat and Havdalah for Interfaith Families Resource Guide.