Havdalah means to differentiate, to distinguish. The entire ceremony is to distinguish between the Shabbat that we have just experienced and the week that we are about to enter, both as an existence in time and as a feeling of existence.
Shabbat is over. We mark the ending with Havdalah and recognize the beginning of a week. But we also mark the difference in how we will live the week. Shabbat is a rare and unique gift. Appreciating its beauty and understanding the depths of its wonder sometimes means seeing it in contrast to the rest of the week.
As we leave Shabbat and enter the week, we engage all our senses and are completely present.
- The wine, is a symbol of joy that we taste.
- The spices, whose fragrance we smell as a symbol comfort our soul.
- The flame, which we see that symbolizes light and darkness and the ability to see the difference in a very deep way.
- The flame also provides the warmth we feel and symbolize by holding the backs of our hands towards the flame.
- Finally, we hear the world around us through the sweet songs of Havdalah, the sizzle of the candle flame extinguishing in the cup of wine and the conversation and laughter of our family and friends.