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Havdalah Information

Havdalah Information

  • The sages instituted that havdalah be recited on wine. Shabbat's departure is thus marked in similar fashion to its entry; both over a cup of wine. The Psalmist (104:15) says that "wine gladdens the heart of man." The Day of Rest has bid farewell and another workweek is on the horizon. The heart deserves to be cheered a bit!
  • In the absence of wine or grape juice, certain other beverages of note can be used. In such an instance a rabbi should be consulted as to which beverage should be used.
  • The Day of Rest has bid farewell and another workweek is on the horizonIt is customary to fill the havdalah cup until it overflows its rim. This is symbolic of the overflowing cup of blessings we wish for in the upcoming week.
  • One may recite the havdalah on another's behalf even if he has already satisfied his havdalah obligation — having recited it beforehand or having heard it from someone else. However, a man who has already fulfilled the obligation of havdalah cannot make the havdalah for the sake of a woman who has not yet heard the havdalah. Instead, the woman should recite the havdalah herself.
    [This is unlike kiddush, which may be repeated by a man for the benefit of a woman who has not yet heard the kiddush. The technical reasons for this distinction are beyond the parameters of this venue.]
  • If one did not make havdalah on Saturday night, it can still be done until sunset of Tuesday evening of that week. The first three days of every week are considered to be in the shadow of the previous Shabbat — as opposed to the last three, which are considered preparatory days for the following Shabbat. However, if the havdalah is recited after Saturday night, the candle and incense are not used.

Rabbi Naftali Silberberg is a writer, editor and director of the curriculum department at the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute. Rabbi Silberberg resides in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, Chaya Mushka, and their three children.
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Anonymous Brisbane September 3, 2016

We stay outside are apartment building until the end of shabbat because we live on the 13th floor of a building. After shabbat has ended we then take the lift up to our apartment. Can we still do havdallah? What if we say the short form of havdallah bracha before taking the lift - when we get up to our apartment can we do the full havdallah or is it too late? Thank you Reply

Anonymous geneve April 30, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

Hi, you are on target! Before taking the lift you should say "Baruch Hamavdil Bein Kodesh L'Chol (blessed is he who separates between the holy and the mundane)". Once home, make Havdallah as usual. Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for May 10, 2016

Re: women making havdalah There is a disagreement in Shulchan Aruch (OC 291:8) whether or not a woman is required to hear/make havdallah. The only time one person can do havdallah for another is if their obligation is equal (even if one already heard and is repeating it only for the benefit of the second person). Because of the opinion that a woman is not obligated, the man cannot repeat havdallah for her, as it may be--according to this opinion--a blessing in vain. Reply

JJ London May 7, 2016

women making havdalah Thanks for this. Where can I find the source for why women should make their own havdalah rather than the husband make havdalah for a second time to include her? Reply

Anonymous Saint Paul July 28, 2013

Can a woman make Havdala for other women? I had learned many years ago, from several sources, that women cannot make havdala for other women but have now heard the opinion that they can. Which is true? Reply

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