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At the conclusion of the festival we recite the Havdalah, using a cup of wine as at the conclusion of Shabbat.

However, it is customary to begin Havdalah with the blessing recited over wine rather than with the introductory phrases that are customary at the conclusion of Shabbat.

We do not make a blessing over a candle, as we do on Shabbat and at the end of Yom Kippur, since the use of fire is not forbidden on Festivals.

We also do not recite the blessing over spices. That blessing is specific to Shabbat, when every Jew is granted an "extra" soul; the spices serve as a means of soothing the pain of the spirit when her "extra" soul departs at the conclusion of the Shabbat.

If the festival falls on a Saturday night, one must recite Havdalah, for the sanctity of Shabbat is greater than that of the Festivals.

If a Festival falls on a Friday, Havdalah is not recited at its conclusion (i.e., on Friday night), for the sanctity of Shabbat is greater than that of the Festival.

Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov, OBM, was one of Israel's most acclaimed religious authors, whose books on the Jewish way of life and the Chassidic movement have become renowned. Text translated from the Hebrew by Nachman Bulman and Dovid Landseman.
Excerpted from: The Book of Our Heritage. Published and copyright by Feldheim Publications.
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