Havdallah means “the separation” in Hebrew. It’s here where we recognize that Shabbat is ending, even as Passover continues. We are standing in a liminal space between the double transcendent and the regular holiday transcendent - it's a pretty rare place to be, moving from holy into holy with a ritual that we usually use to move from the holy to the mundane.
bell hooks wrote, “To commit to love is fundamentally to commit to a life beyond dualism. That’s why love is so sacred in a culture of domination, because it simply begins to erode your dualisms.” Havdallah - especially on Passover - is a ritual that erodes dualisms - the things that are separated meet and meld.
To move from this one space to the other, this ritual asks us to do some magical, sensory play - we light a weird, woven candle and see how our hands hold and reflect the brightness and shadows it casts. The blessings recognize each of these elements - the liminal moment, the separations, the candle, the wine, the spices, and our own happiness to be experiencing these bright moments together.
And when the blessings are done and the mysteries explored, the fire hits the wine with this satisfying sizzle where their elements meet.
we recognize the joy and blessings we encounter, and the ways that we’re protected by ourselves, the world, and each other. We celebrate light, happiness, joy and the things that are precious - including ourselves.
First, we’ll raise a glass and bless the wine, and once we say that we can all drink together, if we’ve got and if we please. Second, we smell the b’samim, the spices which we’ll pass around. Third, the candle is held aloft and we raise our hands, moving them around to see how the light plays on them. Finally, we bless this liminal space.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא מְאוֹרֵי הָאֵשׁ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמַבְדִיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְחֹל, ין אוֹר לְחשֶׁךְ, בֵּין יִשְׂרָאֵל לָעַמִּים, בֵּין יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי לְשֵׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה. בֵּין קְדֻשַּׁת שַׁבָּת לִקְדֻשַּׁת יוֹם טוֹב הִבְדַּלְתָּ, וְאֶת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִשֵּׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה קִדַּשְׁתָּ. הִבְדַּלְתָּ וְקִדַּשְׁתָּ אֶת עַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּקְדֻשָּׁתֶךָ. ,בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי הַמַּבְדִיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְקֹדֶשׁ
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, borei m'orei ha-eish.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, hamavdil bein kodesh l'chol bein or l'choshech, bein Yisrael la-amim, bein yom hashvi-i l'sheishet y'mei hama-aseh. Bein k'dushat shabat likdushat yom tov hivdalta. V'et-yom hashvi-i misheishet y'mei hama-aseh kidashta. Hivdalta v'kidashta et-am'cha yisra-eil bikdushatecha. Baruch atah Adonai, hamavdil bein kodesh l'kodesh.
Praised are You Adonai our God Lord of the universe who created the lights of fire.
Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who makes a distinction between the holy and profane, light and darkness, Israel and the nations, Shabbat and the six workdays. You have made a distinction between the holiness of Shabbat and the holiness of the festival, and You have sanctified Shabbat above the six work-days. You have set apart and made holy Your people Israel with your holiness. Praised are you, Adonai, who distinguishes between degrees of sanctity.
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