Should Your Family Try Havdalah?

illustration from Lights Out Shabbat by Sarene Shulimson

Perhaps you grew up making Havdalah on Saturday nights, perhaps you've only just learned about this Jewish observance. Whether Havdalah is part of your tradition or not, here are a few wonderful reasons to try Havdalah at home.

Shifting Gears

However your family chooses to make Shabbat special, Havdalah marks a transition back into “everyday time.” Havdalah is the shuttle flight, sweet-and-a-little-sad, that lets you down on the other side.   


Per ritual minute, Havdalah is probably the most beautiful--and most distilled--of all Jewish traditions. No meal, no prayer service.  A few minutes of spirit served straight up.


For young kids Havdalah is a memorable send-off to bed, with flames and spices still dancing in their heads. But for parents it’s something else: a lovely mini-ritual that often gives a quick injection of energy with which to start the week.


With light, fragrance, a sweet sip, and a shout-out to Elijah the Prophet, the upshot of Havdalah is that we begin a new week believing in the best possible future – a good way to start the week.

For an overview try “Havdalah: Taking Leave of Shabbat” by Rabbi Susan Silverman, author of Casting Lots, a 2017 PJ Library Parent Book Choice selection.


Browse All Books About Havdalah
“What I Learned from Celebrating Havdalah with My Family” by author Carla Naumburg
PJ Library's Shabbat Hub