Havdalah Sets and Candles Guide
Havdalah is the ceremony performed at the end of Shabbat, effectively ends the restrictions of Shabbat and begins a new week. The ceremony makes uses of Kiddush Cup, Spice Box Candle and Candle Holder and before using each item, a blessing is made over it. The items are usually sold together as Havdalah Sets.
Materials and Design
Havdalah Sets are typically made of lacquered wood or sterling silver, although the individual pieces, especially the spice box can be made of any material. The Kiddush Cup that is used in Havdalah sets is a standard Kiddush cup and may be made of lacquered wood, sterling silver, porcelain or glass.
The candle holder is made of those same materials and while it can be different shapes, it is usually a simple silver basin with a thin opening for a candle to sit in attached to a tall stem and base. The spice box is likewise usually made of sterling silver or wood, although some people prefer to use a small finely decorated bag rather than an actually box. The spice box can be in different shapes, such as pomegranates, cushions or even animals such as doves and fish; however, it looks fairly similar to the candle holder only that it often has tall angled top.
Havdalah Sets can be decorated with almost any Jewish theme. Some of the most common decorations are those found on other Judaica items, such as Jerusalem, Stars of David, animals, floral patterns and the Seven Species. Text from the different blessings made during the Havdalah ceremony may also be used.
Spice Boxes, the items which can be personalized the most, usually feature the same decorations. However, bags filled with herbs and spices have different decorations, typically floral patterns and text. The most common phrases used on spice holder bags include the traditional greeting for the beginning of the new week, “Shavua Tov”, or the text of the end of the blessing on spices: “Boreh Mineh Besamim” or “He who created good smelling-spices” in English.
Havdalah candles traditionally consist of three to five wicks in order to meet the rabbinic requirement that the candle be torch-like and have at least two wicks. The candles are usually made of beeswax. They are usually shades of blue, red, yellow and white. However, as of late they have become works of art by themselves, especially those which are produced in the holy city of Safed. These candles are freestanding, multicolored and are shaped like pyramids, torches, pillars or large flowers.
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Havdalah Sets & Candles
As Shabbat departs on Saturday night, we are commanded to perform the Havdalah ritual, Hebrew for “separation.” The Havdalah requires a number of indispensible items, which together make up the Havdalah set and represent different Jewish beliefs.
The Havdalah set consists of a Kiddush cup, spices or incense, and a multi-wick candle. Each item plays an important role in the ceremony: we fill the Kiddush cup with wine in order to give the ceremony the high status it merits. We smell the incense because of the Kabalistic belief that the sense of smell is the only sense that can affect our soul. Our soul, which is miserable as Shabbat leaves, is placated with pleasant aroma. Finally, we light the candle in remembrance of the first time Adam and Eve lit a fire using two stones.
The three components of the Havdalah set, in addition to representing deep-seated beliefs, vary greatly in shapes, colors and materials. The most popular type of Havdalah set in Judaica stores is sterling silver. There are numerous reasons that explain the steadfast popularity of sterling silver Judaica. For one, it is cheaper than gold. Another possible reason is that sterling silver, unlike many other currently-popular metals, has been in use for a long time. Many people remember seeing sterling silver Judaica at their grandparents’, giving it an “antique – feeling,” just like Judaism itself. The massive popularity of the sterling silver Havdalah set proves that, by-and-large, people like their Judaica traditional.
Stained glass Havdallah sets are also widely seen lately. Stained glass art can be made not only by artisans of the highest caliber, but also by people who took a crash course in stained glass art and have decided to experiment with it. Stained glass Havdalah sets are not only beautiful; they are the perfect fit for those who wish for their religious items to be rich in color. Also, they can make for a great combination of modern and antique looking art.
When visiting the holy land, and in particular the holy city of Jerusalem, there are at least two sets that are tourist favorites: ceramic and Jerusalem stone. The main appeal of these Havdalah Sets is their reminiscence of Jerusalem itself, which is predominantly made of Jerusalem stone. Many people feel that having a Jerusalem stone Havdalah Set, or any Judaica for that matter, makes them feel as if they have a small part of Jerusalem in their own living room. A Havdalah set is a great gift for a Bat Mitzvah or Jewish wedding to accompany the gift of a Tallit and Tallit Bags.
There are many types of Havdalah sets, both antique and modern. With so many types of Jewish art today, it is wonderful to see how we can take a generic ceremony such as the Havdalah, a ceremony with clear rules and procedure, and imbue it with ample individuality.Contact Us with any questions regarding Havdalah sets and candles.