At nightfall on Saturday evening, when three stars are visible in the sky, the Sabbath, or Shabbat, is ushered out with a ceremony called “Havdalah” – separation or distinction.
- What is Shabbat?
- Lighting Shabbat candles: dividing between light and darkness
- Word of the Day / Mevusam מְבֻשָּׂם
The ritual involves a glass of wine, grape juice or other liquid, a special braided candle with two wicks and aromatic spices.
Four blessings are recited, one for each of the three things used in the ritual, and the Havdalah blessing itself, which honors the separation of things – light and darkness, sacred and secular, Israel and the nations and the six days of work and Shabbat.
Once the blessings are recited, some of the wine is used to extinguish the candle’s flame, marking the end of Shabbat.
The Havdalah ritual requires a person to use all five senses: to taste the wine, smell the spices, see the candlelight and feel its heat and hear the blessings.