Havdalah is a Hebrew word that means “separation” and is the ritual that ends Shabbat, separating it from the start of the new week. The service can take place in the home, in synagogue or in a group. A beautiful ritual, it’s a brief ceremony that uses four elements to mark the moment we sadly say goodbye to the beauty of Shabbat, and pledge to carry its gifts into the week to come.
We drink from a cup of wine – which symbolizes the joy we experienced on Shabbat. We pass a spice box (full of cinnamon or another sweet smelling spice) – which symbolizes the lingering scent of the sweetness of Shabbat. We light a multi-wicked candle – which symbolizes how our busy separate selves come together on Shabbat. The light, the wine, and spices all come together to help us carry Shabbat with us through the week until the next Shabbat. We extinguish the candle into the wine to conclude the ceremony, as a final moment of “goodbye” to Shabbat. With the singing of Shavua Tov and Eliyahu haNavi we wish each other a “good week” to come and long for a day when Shabbat won’t need to end at all!
Introductory Passage to the Havdalah Service: Hinei El
As Shabbat ends, the Havdalah candle is lit. It is customary to raise the cup of wine or grape juice high when the last sentence is recited and then proceed to the blessings.
Hinei El y'shuati, evtach v'lo efchad.
Ki ozi v'zimrat Yah Adonai vay'hi li lishuah.
Ush'avtem mayim b'sason mimaay'nei hay'shuah.
L'Adonai hay'shuah, al am'cha virchatecha, selah.
Adonai tz'vaot imanu, misgav lanu, Elohei Yaakov, selah.
Adonai tz'vaot, ashrei adam botei-ach bach!
Adonai hoshiah; haMelech yaaneinu v'yom koreinu.
LaY'hudim hay'tah orah v'simchah v'sason vikar;
kein tihyeh lanu.
Kos y'shuot esa, uv'shem Adonai ekra.
Behold, the God who gives me triumph! I am confident, unafraid; for Adonai is my strength and might, and has been my deliverance. Joyfully shall you draw water from the fountains of triumph, deliverance is Adonai's; Your blessing be upon Your people! Selah.
Adonai Tz'vaot is with us; the God of Jacob is our haven. Selah.
Adonai Tz'vaot. happy is the one who trusts in You. O Adonai, grant victory!
May the Sovereign answer us when we call.
The Jews enjoyed light and gladness, happiness and honor. So may it be for us.
I raise the cup of deliverance and invoke the name of Adonai.
(Lift the cup of wine or grape juice, and recite the blessing:)
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, borei p'ri hagafen.
We praise You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, Creator of the fruit of the vine.
(Hold up the spice box, and recite the blessing:)
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, borei minei v'samim.
We praise You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, Creator of varied spices.
(Lift the Havdalah candle, and recite the blessing:)
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, borei m'orei ha-eish.
We praise You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, Creator of the lights of fire.
(Hold the Havdalah candle, and recite the blessing:)
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam,
hamavdil bein kodesh l'chol, bein or l'choshech,
bein Yisrael laamim,
bein yom hash-vi-i l'sheishet y'mei hamaaseh.
Baruch atah Adonai, hamavdil bein kodesh l'chol.
Praise to You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all: who distinguishes between the holy and ordinary, between light and dark, between Israel and the nations, between the seventh day and the six days of work. Praise to You, Adonai who distinguishes the holy and ordinary.
(Sip the wine or grape juice. Then extinguish the candle in the remaining wine or grape juice.)
Sung at the conclusion of the Havdallah service.
Hamavdil ben koshesh l'chol, chatoteinu hu yimchol,
zareinu v'chaspeinu yarbeh kachol, v'chakochavim balailah.
May the One who distinguishes between the holy and the ordinary, pardon our sins; mulitply our offspring and our possessions as grains of sand and as the stars at night.
A good week, a week of peace, may gladness reign and joy increase.
im Mashiach ben David.
May Elijah the prophet,
Elijah the Tishbite,
Elijah of Gilead,
quickly in our day come to us