Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Havdalah Ends

When Sarah and Heinrich returned with clean clothes, washed faces, and combed hair, they joined Rebekah and Freyda at the table; everyone looked great for this special time. Knowing that some explanation was needed, Rebekah began, “The Havdalah service marks the end of Shabbat. It begins when you can see three stars in the sky, but unfortunately, it’s cloudy tonight. There are three things that are part of the ceremony: a glass of wine, some fragrant spices, and a special Havdalah candle, which has two wicks wrapped around each other. We don’t have one of those so we’ll just use these straight ones.
The purpose of Havdalah is to close the Sabbath. We welcomed the Sabbath last night and we have had a whole day to try and enjoy its rest and peace. Oh that our world would let us do that! The Sabbath has been like a guest and now it is time to say Goodbye to her for another week. In so doing we transition from the sacred space to the mundane. The first blessing is for the wine. Let’s pour some in each of our glasses and I will say the blessing.” Each began to fill their glass. They had only one bottle, so they rationed the amount to last. Rebekah added, “Please wait until later to drink it.”
Rebekah held her glass as she prayed in Hebrew and then in German, “Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam-Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe. Borei p'ri hagafen- Who creates the fruit of the vine (Amen)”
Rebekah put down her glass and held up the container of spices, “The second blessing is recited over fragrant spices. The spices represent a reminder of what we are losing in the special sabbath spirit. I’ll pass this around so each can smell them.” As it made the rounds, each breathed deeply; Heinrich detected cinnamon and cloves.
When everyone had their turn, Rebekah prayed again, “Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, borei minei v'samim (Amein) - Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe, Who creates varieties of spices (Amen)”
“The third blessing is recited over the Havdalah candle. Because we cannot light a flame on the sabbath, our lighting of this candle marks the end of Sabbath.” Rebekah lit the candles and held her hands up as she prayed, “Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam borei m'orei ha'eish (Amein) - Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe Who creates the light of the fire (Amen)”
“The final blessing is for the Havdalah itself where we learn to distinguish between the sacred and the secular: Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam - Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe... hamav'dil bein kodesh l'chol -Who separates between sacred and secular...bein or l'choshekh bein Yis'ra'eil la'amim - between light and darkness, between Israel and the nations...bein yom hash'vi'i l'sheishet y'mei hama'aseh - between the seventh day and the six days of labor... Barukh atah Adonai, hamav'dil bein kodesh l'chol Amein. - Blessed are You, Lord, who separates between sacred and secular. Amen. Now let us drink the wine. And they all did. Rebekah saved a little and dipped her finger in it. She moved her wet fingers to the flame and extinguished it. With the smoke spiraling upward she said, “Let us eat!” 

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