Feb 3, 2007

The Bleeding Candle of Havdallah

As many of my readers know, there is a Jewish tradition of closing out the Sabbath on Saturday night by saying a blessing over wine, spices and a light made with a braided multi-wicked candle. This ceremony is called Havdallah and it marks the beginning of the new week.

I've always liked the part where one is supposed to hold one's fingers up to the light of the candle so that the shadow of one's fingers dances upon the palm of the hand.

Over the past few months I have decided my new favorite part of the ceremony. You see, the end of the ceremony involves a final blessing and then the extinguishing of the havdalllah candle by dunking it into the remnants of the wine. There's a nice sizzle and then the light of Shabbat is out for another week.

But each week, for as long as you can, you use the same candle. This means that the candle I dipped into wine a few minues ago will be lit again next week. During the saying of the blessings, I often look just below the flame on the candle where the wax is turning from solid to liquid. If you look carefully, you will see what looks like blood coming from the candle. In fact, it is the wine that got trapped in the wax at the moment of dunking the previous week. It is the remains of the essence of last week's Shabbat that carried forward to the next week.

Tonight, I saw some of this candle blood/Shabbat essence dripping on the aluminum foil. The drops of blue wax had spots of red. I thought that I would share this with you.

Oh, by the way, this only worked with red wine or dark grape juice. :)

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