All prices are in All prices are in USD
Posted by Yevgeni Kuritski on July 29, 2014
Fire is one of nature’s greatest mysteries and this is an acknowledged fact in Judaism, which considers it one of nature’s basic elements. In the Kabbalah, the image of the colorful flame of a candle is considered to be a metaphor for the relation between God and man, the flame being a unique entity, however, changing its aspect all the time. The flame as a symbol has been incorporated in many Jewish celebrations, one of which is the Havdalah.
Havdalah means “separation” in Hebrew and it is a ceremony marking the ending of the Shabbat and the beginning of the new week. The ritual on Havdalah consists of lighting a special candle having several wicks, called a “Havdalah candle”, the blessing of a wine or grape juice cup and the smelling of specifically designated spices. The ending of Shabbat takes place on Saturday evening, after three stars have appeared on the night sky. However, in some communities, it is common to delay the Havdalah, in an attempt to prolong the Shabbat.
It is customary for everyone participating to the Havdalah to smell the spices, which are called “besamim” in Hebrew and are kept in specifically designed containers. The nature of the spices used on the Havdalah differs according to the community – in Sephardi and Mizrahi communities it is common to use branches of aromatic spices, while in the Ashkenazi communities it is common to use cloves. The Havdalah candle used for this occasion is one with several wicks and usually braided. In the absence of this special Havdalah candle, one can use instead two candles and have their flames united when reciting the blessing. During the reciting of the blessing, those present hold hands in front of the candle and look at the reflections of the light in their fingernails.
After the Havdalah has ended, the remaining wine is put into a small plate and used to extinguish the candle in it, by dipping the flame directly in the wine, or by dipping two fingers in the wine and using them to touch the eyes and the pockets by those present. Being used for a mitzvah, the wine is considered to be a good sign for the welfare of those present. At the end of the Havdalah ceremony, the people present bless each other using the words “Shavua’ tov” or “Gute vokh”.
The Havdalah ceremony can also be recited at the conclusion of several Jewish holidays such as the Rosh Hashanah, the Yom Kippur, the Simchat Torah, Passover and the Shavuot. In these cases, the Havdalah candle is not used, but only the blessing is said.
It is safe to state that the significance of the Havdalah is to have the person use all the five senses in a religious communion with God. Thus, the Havdalah requires one to use the taste, in the drinking of the wine, the smell, in the smelling of the spices, the sight, in the process of looking at the reflection of the flame, the feeling of the emanated heat and the hearing, when listening to the blessing.
The candle is probably one of the most often neglected Jewish symbols, containing however very important meanings. Candles can be used for practical purposes, such as lighting or heating or for religious purposes. Also, in Judaism, fire as a symbol is interpreted as the connection of God with the world and the man He created. In Jewish tradition, the [...]
Music plays a particular role in the religious practice, since its aim is to accompany the services, as well as provide a means of expression of feelings and instants of life. Religious music consists of choir music and instrumental parts. However, in recent days, religious music has evaded the restricted environment of the Church and can be listened to at [...]
The role of women in any religion is a rather particular one, as throughout the evolution of time, women have intersected with religion and religious practices and precepts several times, inflicting thus particular characteristics to the respective religion regarding them.In Judaism, women have a particular role, as shown by the Torah, as well as religious traditions and practices. This is [...]
Art is an expression of one’s feelings and beliefs, as well as a fair representation of a people’s history and evolution. This is also valid for Jewish art, which has shown, throughout time, the evolution of a people, as far as fine arts and Judaica art are concerned. It is also accurate to claim that the modern days have [...]
In Judaism, procreation is one of God’s commandments, but also an emulation of His acts. Conceiving a child is an act of creating a new human being, as well as a repetition of the Creation. And since the Creation is a divine act, it is a common Jewish belief that a child has three parents – a mother, a [...]
”Tzedakah” is not just a pleasant gesture, but rather an obligation to do charity work. While normally someone refraining from charity acts would be considered selfish, in Judaism it is considered an injustice not to offer Tzedakah.”Tzedakah” is often translated as ”charity”. However, the nature of the word is far from meaning simply ”charity”. The word ”Tzedakah” derives from the [...]
According to the Torah, the Kiddush is a prayer usually recited on the eve of Sabbath or any other holy day, including the New Year (Rosh Hashanah), which highlights the sanctity of that specific celebration and ends with the following formulae “Praised be Thou, O Lord, who sanctifies the Sabbath” and “Praised be Thou, O Lord, who sanctifies Israel and [...]
Conversion from one religion to another is a rather complex process that needs to be performed after having completely assessed all the implications that it entails. The process of converting to Judaism comprises several elements: considering the religion, finding a rabbi for guidance and counsel, learning and studying about the religion, being evaluated by the religious court, circumcision, immersion, the offering, [...]
There are particular beliefs which Judaism displays and which need to be assessed in the particular role they have on the configuration of the religion.The central statement of Judaism is to be found in the Shema Israel passage of the Torah and proclaims that God is only one. This statement is the profession of Judaic faith, to be recited every [...]