Havdalah Meoldy

"The late songwriter’s melody for the Havdalah ceremony swept through Jewish communities and camps like wildfire, inspiring other songwriters and igniting an interest in the ritual that is still being felt."

Since Debbie Friedman’s death in January 2011, at age of 59, much has been written about the influence of the singer-songwriter, of how she transformed Jewish music, of how, even while she lay in a hospital bed dying, her friends regaled her with the now ubiquitous songs of healing she’d composed.

Some 35 years ago, the young Friedman wrote a melody for what was then a little-known ceremony outside of Orthodox communities. And almost immediately, Friedman’s majestic tune swept through Jewish communities and camps like wildfire, igniting a revolutionary change in the nature of the Havdalah ritual itself. Eventually, that tune inspired a movement: Havdalah pajama parties, Havdalah b’nai mitzvahs, and seminal moments at Jewish camps typified by large circles of swaying children bidding farewell to Shabbat with a lakeside song. Today, the melody has been adopted by communities as far afield as Cuba and Uganda, and often is mistaken for an ancient tune of unknown origins.

By Elicia Brown

The Blessing over Wine

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּֽפֶן.

Baruch atah, Adonai, Elohaynu melech ha’olam, boray pri hagafen.

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

The Blessing over Spices

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא מִינֵי בְשָׂמִים.

Baruch atah, Adonai, Elohaynu melech ha’olam, boray minay vesamim.

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, Creator of the different spices.

The Blessing over the Candle

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא מְאוֹרֵי הָאֵשׁ.

Baruch atah, Adonai, Elohaynu melech ha’olam, boray me’oray ha’aysh.

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, Creator of the fire’s lights.

The Blessing over Havdalah

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמַּבְדִיל בֵּין קֹֽדֶשׁ לְחוֹל, בֵּין אוֹר לְחֹֽשֶׁךְ, בֵּין יִשְׂרָאֵל לָעַמִּים, בֵּין יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי לְשֵֽׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, הַמַּבְדִיל בֵּין קֹֽדֶשׁ לְחוֹל.

Baruch atah, Adonai, Elohaynu melech ha’olam, hamavdilbayn kodesh lechol bayn or lechoshech bayn Yisrael la’amim bayn yom hashevi’i leshayshet yemay hama’aseh.Baruch atah, Adonai, hamavdil bayn kodesh lechol.

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who separates between the holy and the profane; between the light and dark; between Israel and the other nations; between the seventh day and the six days of the week. Blessed are You, God, who separates between the holy and the profane.


haggadah Section: Introduction
Source: Elicia Brown