Shabbat Havdalah

Shabbat ends with the Havdalah ceremony. Havdalah means separation, this separates the holy Shabbat from the rest of the week. The Havdalah ceremony is said to have started by the men of the Great Assembly 2,500 years ago, it is conducted at the end of Shabbat when we can see three stars in the sky (about 18 minutes after sunset).

Here is what you will need:

The Havdalah ceremony

Fill the cup with wine (some fill it so it overflows representing bounty – it is best to have a plate under the goblet)

first blessing Havdalah

Kos yeshuot esa uve-shem Adonai Ekra. Hinay El yeshuati; evtach ve-lo efchad. Ki azi ve-zimrat Ya Adonai, va-yehi li lishua.

I lift this cup of salvation and proclaim in the name of Adonai. Behold! Adonai is my salvation; I will trust in HaShem and will know no fear. Adonai is my strength and my song; HaShem is the source of my deliverance.

Light the Havdalah candle (some allow the youngest person present to hold the candle, some believe that the height that the flame is held is as high as ones’ future life partner)

second blessing Havdalah

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheynu melech ha-olam, borey p’ri ha-gafen.

I praise Adonai, who is Lord and Ruler over all, for creating the grapes of the vine.


After the first paragraph of Havdalah is read, the blessing over the wine is made but the wine is not drunk.

The blessing over the spices is made, and the spices are passed around for everyone to smell.

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheynu melech ha-olam, borey meinay vesamim.

I praise Adonai, who is Lord and Ruler over all, who created many types of spices.

The blessing over the fire is made – everyone present holds their hands towards the flame so they can see the light reflected in their fingernails. This is to represent the difference between light and dark, and the acceptance of the light.

The last paragraph of Havdalah is read, and the wine is drunk – either by the person who recited Havdalah, or it is passed around for everyone to drink.

A few drops of wine are poured on to a plate, and the Havdalah flame is extinguished in the wine.

Some people dip their index fingers in the wine and dab their fingers on their eyebrows, temples and pockets to represent our desire for enlightenment, wisdom and prosperity.

After Havdalah it is customary to wish everyone present a “shavuah tov” (good week), or “gut voch” in Yiddish.