Recently, I shared with you how to create a b’samim (spice) pouch for your Havdalah celebration. This week, I want to share with you how to make your own Havdalah candle!
What is Havdalah?
Havdalah is Hebrew for “separation” and it marks the end of Shabbat after seeing three stars in the night sky.
The same way we light Shabbat candles and sing the blessings to begin Shabbat, there are blessings to end Shabbat as well. It is a tradition to separate the “holy” from the “mundane” i.e. Shabbat from the rest of the week. On Erev Shabbat – Friday evening – we light solid white candles to introduce this time as holy, peaceful and full of rest. On Saturday evening – at the end of Shabbat – we light a colorful, intertwined candle introducing the beginning of a new week.
Havdalah is how we put Shabbat to bed.
The melodies for the blessings sound like a nursery rhyme! I didn’t know any nursery rhymes when my daughter was first born, so I would sing her the Havdalah melodies instead. Ancient Hebrew liturgies are very special to me and my family. If you’re interested in learning how to sing them, you can download this app and sing along with the audio recordings. The Havdalah blessings can also be found in the back of this Bible.
The three things used for the Havdalah tradition include:
• A glass of wine or grape juice (Kedem Blush is our favorite)
• A b’samim pouch, or spice pouch, full of traditional spices to smell (here’s how to make your own!)
• A Havdalah candle
Shabbat in its entirety is a multisensory experience.
Here’s How to Make a Homemade Havdalah Candle
1. Buy Wax
First, I needed to find the right products for making the candles.
After searching through various craft stores, I found exactly what I needed on Amazon (why don’t I just start there?!). I bought this Beeswax candle rolling kit. What I liked about using this kit is that everything I needed was already included. I’ve never made a candle before and I had no idea what I needed. So instead of buying everything separately at a craft store (or forgetting something), this kit made it super easy. Also, I could only find one color in craft stores (yellow, of course!) and this kit included lots of beautiful, bright colors!
2. Choose colors.
Choose which colors you want to use together. I used 5 different colors and made a 5-strand braid. Choose as many colors as you want braids. Some of my favorite color combinations are using all warm colors for one, and all cool colors for another. You can use the warm-colored one for Harvest season, and the cool-colored one for seedtime! Just a small little way to live the seasons of the Bible. 🙂
3. Cut each sheet 2in. wide and cut wick
Because the Havdalah candle is made up of several different colors, it’s very thick. Because of this, don’t use one full sheet per wick. Cut it two inches wide and cut your wick the length of the wax. Each color has its own wick. I cut the wax using this fabric cutter – it just worked really well!
4. Roll Each Color Using a Hair Dryer
To be able to roll each piece, you have to slightly warm it up using a hairdryer. Don’t melt the wax completely – just enough to be able to roll it together. If it’s not warm enough, the wax will start to crumble or break. If it’s too warm, it’ll stick to your surface. Roll each piece with the wicks in the middle.
5. Braid them together
Here’s the tough part – take this slow.
Put them all next to each other and use the hairdryer for a few seconds until they slightly stick together. Very slowly, start braiding each piece. I had to use the hairdryer every time I braided a new strand to keep everything from breaking apart. I braided a 5-strand candle, but you can braid however many colors you chose! To braid a 5-strand, focus on the outer strands. Here’s how to braid 5-strand:
6. Use for Havdalah!
Both Erev Shabbat and Havdalah are unique in their own expression and each community celebrates them differently. My first introduction to Havdalah was when I attended Baruch HaShem in Dallas, TX. They met once a month for a Havdalah service and in addition to the blessings, it included a lot of Israeli dance! It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before.
However you celebrate Havdalah – in your home or in your community – remember to bring your new candle with you!
Thanks for checking out my post. I always enjoy crafting my faith with you! If you purchase this kit and make homemade Havdalah candles for your family – please send me a photo! I’d love to see what colors you combined! You can connect with me on Instagram @BrittniGreenberg
And one more thing!
If you haven’t made one already, I recommend making a b’samim (spice) pouch to go along with your havdalah candle! Learn how to make one here!
As always, Blessings in Messiah,