Havdalah, marking the end of Shabbat and festivals, corresponds to the Kiddush, which proclaims the holiness of Shabbat and festivals. The Havdalah, recited over wine, consists of four benedictions: over wine, spices, light, and the distinction between the sacred and the profane, between light and darkness, between Israel and the nations, between the seventh day and the six workdays.

This word comes from the Hebrew root badal (בדל), which means to separate out or to make distinct or different. The word first appears as the separating of the waters below from the waters above, in Bere’shiyt (Genesis) 1:7. The waning of Shabbat is seen as a period of sadness as the Shabbat is passing away to the beginning of the work week and six days of labor. The Shabbat is, of course, distinct from the other six days, and when she leaves she is treated as a wife leaving the home for a week long journey.

Shalom Alecheim!