Halacha for Monday 11 Kislev 5782 November 15 2021

Havdala Without Besamim and a Candle

Question: One Motza’ei Shabbat when we were on vacation in the summer, we were not able to procure Besamim (a fragrant object) and a candle. Is it permissible to recite the order of Havdala without Besamim and a candle?

Answer: This law is discussed by the Gemara (Berachot 53a): “Rav Yehuda said in the name of Rav: One need not search for a candle on Motza’ei Shabbat the way one search for other Mitzvot.” This means that if one does not have a candle for Havdala, one need not go and look for a candle; rather, one may recite Havdala immediately without reciting the blessing on the candle.

The Gemara therefore clearly dictates the law regarding the Havdala candles. We must still discuss the law regarding Besamim. May one recite Havdala without reciting the blessing on the fragrant object?

The Rashba in his commentary quotes the Ra’avad who comments on the Gemara regarding not having to search for a candle on Motza’ei Shabbat, “This is certainly the case regarding searching for Besamim, for this is only for one’s own personal benefit.” This means that the Ra’avad maintained that if the Gemara states that one need not search for fire on Motza’ei Shabbat and the blessing of “Me’orei Ha’esh” is completely a blessing of praise to Hashem, certainly one need not search for Besamim if one does not have it on Motza’ei Shabbat, for this is a blessing for one’s own enjoyment. If a blessing praising Hashem is not compulsory on Motza’ei Shabbat, certainly the blessing upon Besamim on Motza’ei Shabbat is not compulsory for one who does not have it.

On the other hand, the Meiri writes that it seems to him that only with regards to fire did our Sages not obligate one to go and search for it in order to make a blessing on it; however, one must search for Besamim to recite a blessing on during Havdala since the Besamim is taken in honor of Shabbat as it is well-known that the reason why we recite the blessing on Besamim on Motza’ei Shabbat is because upon the conclusion of Shabbat, the extra soul every Jew receives on Shabbat departs and in order to comfort the regular soul, we smell fragrant objects. Thus, writes the Meiri, even one who does not have Besamim must go and actively search for Besamim to recite the blessing on during Havdala on Motza’ei Shabbat.

Therefore, this issue is subject to a disagreement between the Ra’avad and Meiri. Halachically speaking, Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 297) rules that one need not actively search for either a candle or Besamim on Motza’ei Shabbat, in accordance with the Ra’avad’s opinion.

Thus, if one does not have Besamim or a candle on Motza’ei Shabbat, one should recite Havdala without these items and one need not go out and actively search for a candle or Besamim to recite a blessing on. Nevertheless, one should preferably take care to have Besamim and a candle for Motza’ei Shabbat. Once, after spending Shabbat with Maran zt”l, there was no Besamim for Havdala. He then requested a lemon and he recited the blessing of “Ha’Noten Re’ach Tov Ba’Perot” on it. Another time, he recited the blessing on a bottle of perfume. We see how Maran zt”l would not give up easily on the blessing of Besamim on Motza’ei Shabbat.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Taking Haircuts and Shaving During the Omer Period

Abstaining from Taking Haircuts During the Omer It has become customary among the Jewish nation to refrain from taking haircuts during the Omer counting period: According to the Ashkenazi custom, until the 33rd day of the Omer and according to the Sephardic custom, until the morning of the 34th day......

Read Halacha

Producing Sound and Whistling on Shabbat

The Gemara in Masechet Eruvin (104a) tells us that our Sages banned producing sound on Shabbat and Yom Tov, for instance, by playing a musical instrument, for they were concerned that while the tune is being played, the player will come to fix the instrument. This decree would certainly apply eve......

Read Halacha

Toys Which Produce Sound and those Which Operate Using a Spring or Coil

Question: Is it permissible for one to allow one’s young children to play with toys which produce sound, such as a doll which makes noise when shaken, on Shabbat? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have discussed the prohibition of producing sound on Shabbat, such as by banging on a board, ......

Read Halacha

Clapping and Drumming on a Table on Shabbat and Yom Tov

The Gemara in Masechet Beitzah (30a) states that one may not drum, clap, or dance on Shabbat lest one come to fix a musical instrument (ibid. 36b). This means that just as we have discussed in the previous Halachot that our Sages have decreed that one may not play musical instruments on Shabbat ......

Read Halacha


Praying in Pajamas

Question: Can one pray while wearing pajamas? Answer: Approximately one week ago, we have discussed that, before praying, one must prepare a fitting place, proper attire, and cleanse one’s body and thoughts, as the verse in the book of Amos states, “Prepare yourself before your G-d, I......

Read Halacha

Praying Barefoot

Question: May one pray while wearing sandals or while one is barefoot? Answer: When one prays, one must prepare one’s environment, clothing, body, and thoughts accordingly, for one will be standing before the King of all kings. Respectable Garments While Praying The Gemara (Shabbat 9b) ......

Read Halacha

Question: How many “Kezayit”s (olive’s volume) of Matzah must one consume during the Pesach Seder?

Answer: One is obligated to eat altogether three “Kezayit”s of Matzah during the Pesach Seder. Every Kezayit amounts to approx. 30 grams of Matzah. Nevertheless, there is room for stringency to eat four or even five “Kezayit”s of Matzah, as we shall now explain. The Order......

Read Halacha

Kissing One’s Parents’ Hands on Shabbat Night- The Students of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai

Question: Should one kiss the hands of one’s parents and receive a blessing from them on Shabbat night and does the same apply equally to one’s father and mother? Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Avodah Zarah (17a) tells us that when Ulah (a sage who lived during the Talmudic era) would......

Read Halacha