Candles play an important role in Jewish traditions, especially Shabbat, a time when candles are traditionally used both to welcome and bid farewell to the Shabbat. Some of us, even of those who are not Jewish or practicing, may already be familiar with the classic, simple and often white candles that may be lit when the Shabbat starts, but there is another kind of candle -- used in a closing tradition when the Shabbat comes to an end -- that doesn’t seem to get as much attention, and that is the havdalah candle. I still remember going to a Jewish store and getting my first one.
Havdallah candles look different from other ones because instead of just being a solid piece of wax, it looks like the wax of the candle is in separate pieces that were braided together. Mine was a beautiful white and pink candle which I treasured very much, but these candles come in various styles and colors, as you can learn from the video. The Shabbat can serve as a reminder that we are all part of God’s creation, and as such, we should love God and each other. While it can be easy to remember this early on as the Shabbat starts, we should also remember to honor God and treat each other with kindness in the light of God’s love as the Shabbat fades away.
There are many ways one can find meaning in candles used in Shabbat traditions. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, “The lighted candle symbolizes the light of Shabbat and the strands of the braid have been interpreted as the many types of Jews in the world, all of whom are part of one unified people.” I think the music video is very fitting and does a very good job demonstrating this unity and showing the connection we have with each other through shared traditions, even if we are different.
Another tradition that tends to unite people is singing, and the joy of music can help bind our hearts to each other. By watching and listening to this video, you can get a sense of what it is like to “Join The World In Making Havdallah,” learn what the tradition of havdallah is all about, and allow the special bright parts of the song to light up your life as well.
Reference: “Shabbat: Havdallah” Jewish Virtual Library.
Written by Verna-Lee Small