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Shabbat Yom Kippur 5775

Ask the Rabbi: Havadala on Yom Kippur Which Falls on Shabbat

Rav Daniel Mann

Question: I know that Havdala after Yom Kippur is different than it is on Motzaei Shabbat. How do we treat matters when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbat?


Answer
: How to treat Havdala after Yom Kippur that fell on Shabbat depends on the logic of each individual element of Havdala. We will proceed according to the order of Havdala.

In such a Havdala we do say the p’sukim that precede Borei Pri Hagefen like after a regular Shabbat (Mateh Ephrayim 624:5; Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 62:27).

The accepted reason for the beracha on besamim in Havdala is that one loses his neshama yeteira (literally, extra soul) when Shabbat ends and the besamim help revive him (Tosafot, Beitza 33b). After Yom Kippur this does not apply because there is no neshama yeteira on Yom Kippur (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 624:3; see Beit Yosef, ad loc.). The Shulchan Aruch (ibid.) says that even if Yom Kippur falls on Shabbat, the fact that it is a fast day means that there is no neshama yeteira. (See Rashi, Beitza 16a who connects between neshama yeteira and eating.) However, many (especially, Ashkenazic) poskim argue with the Shulchan Aruch, as the coinciding of Yom Kippur should not take away the innate kedusha of a regular Shabbat (see Mishna Berura 624:5 and Sha’ar Hatziyun 624:6). The Taz (624:2) points out that it is certainly not a beracha l’vatala to make the beracha on besamim, as one makes a beracha any time he purposely smells such a fragrance. The question is mainly on saying it in its regular place where it gets in between the beracha on the wine and its drinking (thus raising hefsek questions). Regarding practice, there is no right or wrong answer for Ashkenazim, as there are minhagim either way (see Mishna Berura ibid. and Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 62:28). If one smells the besamim and makes the beracha after drinking, there is little to lose (Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata, ibid.). Sephardim certainly should not go against the Shulchan Aruch’s ruling and make the beracha during Havdala. However, Sephardim may make the beracha after drinking if they like (see Kaf Hachayim 624:9; Mikraei Kodesh (Harari), p. 298).

A final issue is regarding the requirements of the fire for the beracha of Borei Me’orei Ha’esh. There are two reasons to make the beracha on Motzaei Shabbat. One is that fire was discovered on Motzaei Shabbat (Rosh, Berachot 8:3). The other is that it becomes permitted to use fire, which was restricted on Shabbat. The former does not apply after Yom Kippur that falls during the week, so that the latter becomes the main idea after Yom Kippur. Due to this distinction, specifically after Yom Kippur it is necessary that the light the beracha is made on existed on Yom Kippur and people refrained from using it (Pesachim 54a). That is why people use a flame that was lit from a ‘yahrtzeit candle’ which was lit throughout the day. When Yom Kippur falls on Shabbat and there is also the first reason to make the beracha, a new flame that was lit on Motzaei Shabbat should suffice (Ritva, ad loc.). However, opinions do exist (such as the Magen Avraham 624:7) that one should anyway use a light that existed and was not used on Yom Kippur, in order to stress the fact that on Yom Kippur it was forbidden to use fire. The Mishna Berura (624:7), while not being impressed by this argument (see Sha’ar Hatziyun 624:9), notes that the minhag is to be stringent on the matter. However, he says that if one makes the beracha not on a new fire that was created by friction but from a flame that was transferred from it, one may certainly be lenient. (Note that this condition is fulfilled normally when one uses a match to light the Havdala candle.) Nevertheless, there are still people who are careful to use the yahrtzeit candle system (Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 62:35). Unquestionably, one who does not have such a flame available should make the beracha normally.

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