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Holiday Havdalah

Holiday Havdalah


Holiday havdalah can be divided into two categories: 1) Havdalah recited at the conclusion of a holiday. 2) The special havdalah recited on a holiday which falls on Saturday night. Havdalah is made when entering a day of lesser holiness. Since Shabbat is holier than all the holidays, we recite the havdalah when Shabbat leads into a holiday. Following the same logic, havdalah is not recited if a holiday leads into Shabbat.

Havdalah at the Conclusion of a Holiday

Havdalah is only made when entering a day of lesser holinessHavdalah is recited at the conclusion of the following biblical holidays: Rosh Hashanah; Yom Kippur; the first days of Sukkot; Simchat Torah; Passover, both its first and last days; and Shavuot.

If the final day of the holiday was Shabbat, then the exact same havdalah procedure as a typical Saturday night is followed. If the holiday ended on another weeknight, the procedure is very similar to the Shabbat havdalah, but with some differences:

  • In some communities, the prefatory verses (from "Hinei E-l" until the wine blessing) are omitted. Many communities, however, including Chabad, do recite these verses.
  • Spices and a havdalah candle are not used. The exception to this rule is the Yom Kippur havdalah, which includes the blessing on a havdalah candle. The Yom Kippur havdalah candle is kindled from a fire which burnt throughout the holiday, such as a yahrtzeit candle.
  • The V'yiten lecha prayer is not recited following a holiday, nor is it customary to partake of a Melaveh Malka meal. (The Atah chonantanu insert is included in the post-holiday evening prayer.)
  • If one forgets to make havdalah following a holiday, it can be recited until sundown of the following day.

Havdalah for a Holiday Which Falls on Saturday Night

Whether a holiday begins on a Saturday night or if Saturday night ushers in the second day of a holiday, that night's holiday kiddush incorporates within itself the havdalah for Shabbat as well.

The whole text of the kiddush/havdalah can be found in your standard or holiday prayer book. The following is the basic procedure:

  • For the havdalah candle we use the standard holiday candles The order of the night's kiddush/havdalah is: 1) The wine blessing. 2) The holiday kiddush blessing. 3) The blessing on the candle. 4) The havdalah blessing -- which is different than the standard Shabbat havdalah blessing. 5) The Shehecheyanu blessing (aside for the last days of Passover when it is not recited).
  • No spices are used.
  • For the havdalah candle we use the standard holiday candles which are on the table. It is not necessary to conjoin two candles. During this havdalah, many, including Chabad, have the custom to only gaze at the candles after reciting the candle blessing without looking at the fingernails.

Note: There are many activities which are forbidden on Shabbat but permissible on a holiday. All such activities must wait until one verbally "separates" between Shabbat and the holiday. This, however, does not have to wait for kiddush/havdalah, as a special havdalah themed insert, the Va'to-de'aynu paragraph, is inserted in the Amidah of the night's prayers. Alternatively, one can say: "Baruch hamavdil bayn kodesh likodesh" -- "Blessed is the One who separates between (the) holiness (of Shabbat) and (the) holiness (of the holiday)."

    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 September 19, 2017

    I'm a litte confused, I know Havdalah is meant to separate between holy days and lesser or come we can be saying a blessing and then do all the regular things as if Shabbat is over, before Havdalah? I don't really understand...I thought we have to wait for Havdalah itself, because if we start doing regular things, it doesn't really feel like Shabbat anymore... Reply

    Scott Philadelphia September 18, 2017

    What if a holiday concludes on Erev Shabbat? Reply Staff September 18, 2017
    in response to Scott:

    In that case no havdalah is said as it is only recited when starting a day that is less holy. Shabbat is obviously holier than the holiday. Reply

    Scott Philadelphia September 18, 2017
    in response to Staff:

    I take it this includes Rosh Hashanah ending on Eruv Shabbat, as it does this year? Reply

    Simcha Bart for October 22, 2016

    Yom Tov Havdalah We recite Baruch Hamavdil in addition to the blessing of Hagafen on the wine. Chabad and others have the custom to recite as well the Hinei introductory paragraph as stated in the article above.

    Anonymous October 16, 2016

    So just a blessing? So if I understand correctly...then only a blessing of Barcuh Hamvdil needs to be said as a Havdalah after Yom Tov? Reply

    Eliezer Zalmanov for December 31, 2015

    Once Shabbos is over, you can recite "Baruch hamavdil bein kodesh lechol" and then you may carry (as well as do any other activities forbidden on Shabbos) before Havdallah. Reply

    Barbara Greenberg Michigan December 31, 2015

    Can one carry between the end of Shabbos and Havdallah if there are several hours in between the two? Reply

    Yisroel New York March 27, 2013

    Gazing at fingernails The reason for making a blessing on fire in Havdala is:
    1) Fire was created on Saturday night
    2) Fire wasn't permitted to be used throughout the Sabbath and following the Sabath it becomes permitted
    According to the first reason there's no need to use a pre existing flame.
    The first reason applies to every Sabbath, however not for Yom Kippur. Therefore on Yom Kippur we only have the second reason. This is the explanation for using an existing flame for Havdala after Yom Kippur. Since it makes sense to make a blessing on a fire that we couldn't use up till now and now are able to use it.
    I think that's why we gaze at our nails, to experience through sight the difference between the light on our nails and fingers and the shadows in the palm of our hands. Reply

    Anonymous CA November 26, 2012

    why 2 strings? why dose the Havdala candle need two or more strings? Reply

    Anonymous June 2, 2011

    Havdalah and Motzei Shabbat Thanks for the post, it helped me considerably. Reply

    Anonymous December 11, 2010

    fingernails Where/when did the custom of gazing at the fingernails begin, and what does it symbolize, please?
    thank you Reply

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