Saturday, January 3, 2009

Role of the Eyes in Havdalah


When one recites a blessing regarding an item (such as food), and when one performs a mitzvah using an item (such as a lulav on Succot), one is supposed to look at that item while reciting the blessing or performing the mitzvah.

Therefore, one should look at the cup during Havdalah, since the cup is an essential part of the mitzvah.

One need not look at the spices, since they are not absolutely required for Havdalah. For the same reason, one need not look at the candle, except when reciting the blessing on benefiting from its light. (For those who are wondering, "What spices? What candle?", don't worry - we'll get to them in later emails.)

Of course, one who needs to look at a text in order to recite Havdalah should look at the text, rather than the cup.

(Code of Jewish Law Orach Chaim 296:1; Aruch haShulchan Orach Chaim 296:9)

Have a great day,

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