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    Havdalah – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why do we have wine, spices and a candle for Havdalah?

    A. Wine is part of every joyous occasion in Judaism. The spices give us a last experience of the fragrance of Shabbat or, according to others, cheer up the soul which feels sad at the departure of Shabbat. The candle indicates that the making of fire is permitted once Shabbat has concluded, and thus Havdalah marks the beginning of the creative week.

    Homiletically, the mouth tastes the wine, the nose smells the spices, the eye sees the light, the ear hears the blessings and the hand holds the wine cup, spice box and candle; thus all five senses are utilised, showing that every part of one’s being is needed in living a Jewish life.

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