set for havdalah blessings

Learn Havdalah Blessings: As Shabbat Ends, The Week Begins

Learn To Speak and Chant the Havdalah Blessings and Perform the Saturday Evening Ritual Ceremony

Stand outside on Saturday night awaiting the darkness and three stars to shine in the sky. It’s the moment Shabbat ends and Havdalah begins, the ceremony which separates (Havdalah means separation in Hebrew) the holy day from the rest of the week. Havdalah is one of the most beautiful ceremonies in Judaism; close your eyes, feel the heat of the burning flame, smell the cloves and cardamom, and recite the Havdalah blessings.

people standing in a circle at night with a bird's eye view of their feet

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What will you need for a Havdalah ceremony?

It is customary to stand in a circle in the dark, inside or outside is perfectly acceptable. You’ll need a Havdalah set which includes the following items: a braided candle, a spice box, and a kiddish cup. You’ll also need a tray to hold the items, matches for the candle, wine or grape juice, and the requisite spices for the spice box – cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon are all typical. Different people can hold each of these items and as each Havdalah blessing is recited, that item is showcased to the group.

Read More: Beautiful Havdalah Sets to Use During the Saturday Night Ritual

You can speak the blessings below, but the great songwriter Debbie Friedman composed a nigun that is sung universally by all of the denominations in Judaism as well as at synagogues and Jewish summer camps across the globe. Listen to a recording of the Havdalah blessings and learn them on your own or sing along to the beautiful audio during your Havdalah ceremony.

Read More: Shabbat Blessings: Learn the Shabbat Prayers

There is an introductory Havdalah passage to the Havdalah service, Hinei El, which is a collection of biblical verses. This isn’t part of my personal tradition, but I will include a link to the Hebrew here should you wish to make it part of yours.

Blessing Over the Wine

It is customary to fill the Kiddush cup until it is overflowing with wine or grape juice. This overflow represents the abundance of blessings we hope for in the coming week. The wine is held up for everyone to see but it is not sipped until the blessings are completed.

.בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֺהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

TRANSLITERATION

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, borei p’ri hagafen.

TRANSLITERATION #2: BMA STYLE

BAH-rOOch AH-tAH AH-dOH-nEYE EH-LOH-hAY-nOO MEH-LEHch HA-OH-LAHm BOH-rAY PEH-rEE hAH-gAH-fEHn.

TRANSLATION

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

Havdallah Blessing Over the Wine Audio

Havdalah Blessing Over the Wine (Spoken)

havdalah spice box

Blessing Over The Spices

The spice box filled with aromatic spices (besamim in Hebrew) is lifted as the blessing is recited. It is then passed around for everyone in the circle to smell. The idea of smelling aromatic spices uplifts us and hopefully carries the sweetness of Shabbat with us into the next week.

.בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא מִינֵי בְשָׂמִים

TRANSLITERATION

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, borei minei v’samim.

TRANSLITERATION #2: BMA STYLE

BAH-rOOch AH-tAH AH-dOH-nEYE EH-LOH-hAY-nOO MEH-LEHch HA-OH-LAHm BOH-rAY MEE-nAY VEH-SAH-MEEM.

TRANSLATION

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, Creator of varied spices.

Blessing Over the Spices Audio

Blessing Over the Spices (Spoken)

havdalah candle

Blessing Over The Flame

You’ll notice that a Havdalah candle is quite different than the candles lit on Shabbat. A havdalah candle is braided, oftentimes in blue and white colors, and has multiple wicks, typically three. The braided candle can be interpreted in a variety of ways, but it ultimately symbolizes different people going about their week on their own or various Jews from different walks of life all coming together, unified on Shabbat. The candle is held high so people can look directly to the emanating light, with some following the custom of raising their fingertips so that the flame’s glow is reflected on them.

.בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא מְאוֹרֵי הָאֵשׁ

TRANSLITERATION

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, borei m’orei ha-esh.

TRANSLITERATION #2: BMA STYLE

BAH-rOOch AH-tAH AH-dOH-nEYE EH-LOH-hAY-nOO MEH-LEHch HA-OH-LAHm BOH-rAY MEH-OH-rAY HAH-AYsh.

TRANSLATION

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, Creator of the lights of the fire.

Blessing Over the Flame Audio

Blessing Over the Flame (Spoken)

havdalah set

Blessing Of Separation

Once this final blessing is recited, the wine is passed around and sipped. The candle is then extinguished into the remaining drops of wine. The group is silent as we listen for the magical hissing sound of the flame being put out.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמַּבְדִיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְחוֹל, בֵּין אוֹר לְחֹשֶׁךְ, בֵּין יִשְׂרָאֵל לָעַמִּים, בֵּין יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי לְשֵׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, הַמַּבְדִיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְחוֹל

TRANSLITERATION

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 hama’aseh. Baruch atah Adonai, hamavdil bein kodesh l’chol.

TRANSLITERATION #2: BMA STYLE

BAH-rOOch AH-tAH AH-dOH-nEYE EH-LOH-hAY-nOO MEH-LEHch HA-OH-LAHm, HAH-mAHv-dEEL BAYn KOH-dEHsh LEH-chOL, BAYn Or LEH-chOH-shEHch, BAYn YEEs-rAH-AYL LAH-AH-mEEm, BAYn YOm HAHsh-vEE-EE LEH-shAY-shEHt YAH-mAY HAH-mAH-AH-sEH. BAH-rOOch AH-tAH AH-dOH-nEYE, HAH-mAHv-dEEL BAYn KOH-dEHsh LEH-chOL.

TRANSLATION

Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who distinguishes between the holy and the ordinary, between light and dark, between Israel and the other nations, between the seventh day and the six days of work. Blessed are You, Adonai who distinguishes the holy and the ordinary.

Blessing of Separation Audio

Blessing of Separation (Spoken)

people in a circle with their arms around eachother at night

Post-Havdalah Blessings Songs

After the havdalah ceremony ends, it’s customary to grab hands or put your arms around each other and sing the songs, Shavua Tov and Eliyahu Hanavi.

Shavua Tov

!שָׁבוּעַ טוֹב

A good week, a week of peace, may gladness reign and joy increase.

The Hebrew words Shavua Tov are sung 8 times in a row followed by the English, which is repeated twice.

Shavua Tov Audio

Eliyahu Hanavi

The ceremony often ends with Eliyahu Hanavi in the hopes that Elijah the prophet will come to herald the Messiah soon.

.אֵלִיָּהוּ הַנָּבִיא אֵלִיָּהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּי אֵלִיָּהוּ הַגִּלְעָדִי 
.בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ יָבוֹא אֵלֵינוּ עִם מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

TRANSLITERATION

Eliyahu hanavi, Eliyahu hatishbi, Eliyahu (x3) hagiladi.

Bimheirah b’yameinu, yavo eileinu, (im Mashiach ben David) (x2).

TRANSLITERATION #2: BMA STYLE

AY-LEE-yAH-hOO HAH-nAH-vEE AY-LEE-yAH-hOO HAH-tEEsh-bEE AY-LEE-yAH-hOO HAH-gEEL-AH-dEE. BEEm-hEY-rAH VEH-yAH-mAY-nOO yAH-vOH AY-LAY-nOO EEm MAH-shEE-AHch BEn DAH-vEEd.

TRANSLATION

May Elijah the prophet, Elijah the Tishbite, Elijah of Gilead, quickly in our day come to us

heralding redemption.

Eliyahu Hanavi Audio

Download Havdalah Blessings PDF Printable

Did you enjoy learning the Havdalah blessings? You can learn to recite many other prayers on the BMA blog. Don’t forget to check out these other posts!

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