Havdalah after Yom Kippur


After Yom Kippur one performs the Havdalah ceremony to mark the end of a day of biblical rest. However there are certain situations that mandate changes to the standard Havdalah ceremony performed after Shabbat. In addition there may be differences in this ceremony when Yom Kippur occurs on a weekday or on Shabbat.


This article will first describe the regular Havdalah ceremony after Shabbat and explain the differences performing this ceremony after Yom Kippur.

Havdalah Structure after Shabbat (Shulchan Aruch 296:1)

The Havdalah ceremony performed after Shabbat consists of the following blessings over:

  1. Wine – to open the ceremony (ibid).
  2. Spices – to compensate for the loss of the additional soul (ibid 297:1 and Mishna Berurah 297:2).
  3. Candle – to commemorate Adam making a fire after Shabbat (ibid. 298:1).
  4. Blessing on week day – to separate Shabbat from a weekday (ibid. 296:1).

Havdalah Structure after Yom Kippur


The blessing is the same as Shabbat.


The codifiers of Halacha debate the use of spices for Havdalah after Yom Kippur. The Shulchan Aruch 624:3 rules that one does not use spices for Havdalah in this case. However the Mishna Berurah (ibid. 624:5) brings dissenting opinions and concludes that one is permitted, but not required, to use spices when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbat. The debate hinges over the conditions of the arrival of the extra soul on Shabbat. The following table records the different factors, sources, and consequent needs for spices after Yom Kippur which may occur on a week day or Shabbat.    

EatingRashi (Beitzah 16a)XX
Hashem’s BlessingAbudrahamX

According to Rashi, the extra soul is energized by the lavish meals of Shabbat. Therefore there is no need for spices after a fast day on Shabbat. According to the first reason of Abudraham (Laws of Leaving of Shabbat) the extra soul is energized by a day of complete physical rest. Therefore one could use spices whether Yom Kippur occurs on a week day or Shabbat. His second reason relates to the special blessing, physical and spiritual, that Hashem gives to Shabbat (Genesis 2:3). Therefore according to this reason one would use spices only when Yom Kippur occurs on Shabbat. 

If one would make a blessing on the spices within this Havdalah ceremony, this blessing would represent an interruption between the blessing of the wine and its consumption. In a normal Havdalah ceremony the blessing on the spices and candle are integral to this ceremony and therefore do not constitute an interruption. However one may make a blessing on spices after the consumption of the wine, since the Havdalah ceremony is now complete or before the blessing on the wine to avoid an interruption.      


One makes the blessing on a candle after Yom Kippur, whether Yom Kippur occurs on a week day or Shabbat because this candle commemorates the fact that one my not start a fire on Yom Kippur. To emphasize this law, the sages required that this candle must be lit before Yom Kippur, in the language of the Shulchan Aruch a candle that rested. By contrast after a regular Shabbat one may light a kindle from a new flame (e.g. match) or an existing flame (i.e. lit before Shabbat) because this candle is a reminder of the first night after Shabbat when Hashem gave Adam the idea to discover fire by rubbing two stones together after Shabbat (Pesachim 54a). In addition the sages instituted this blessing because the Torah forbids making a fire on Shabbat (Exodus 35:3) and after Shabbat it is permitted (Aruch Hashulchan Orach Chaim 298:2).

The codifiers of Halacha debate the type of candle for Havdalah when Yom Kippur occurs after Shabbat because there are now both considerations (i.e. candle lit before Yom Kippur or a new flame as on a regular Shabbat). The Halacha depends upon which factor is primary for this candle, Yom Kippur or Shabbat. The Shulchan Aruch does not mention this case therefore this omission is open to interpretation. The Mishna Berurah (624:4) rules that one may use a candle lit after Yom Kippur in this case. However he also mentions that the custom is to use a candle lit before Yom Kippur, presumably to standardize Havdalah from year to year and take into account the other opinion.

In addition to the candle for Havdalah the Rema mentions the need for a memorial light which must be lit before Yom Kippur (ibid. 610:4). However this candle may not be used directly for Havdalah. In the absence of a candle lit before Yom Kippur specifically for Havdalah, some allow to light another candle for Havdalah from this memorial candle (ibid. 624:5 and Mishna Berurah 624:14) and make the blessing on this new flame or on both candles. Many synagogues provide a candle lit before Yom Kippur for those who wish to recite Havdalah in the synagogue.  

Blessing on week day

 The blessing is the same as Shabbat.


The following table summarizes the Havdalah procedure for a regular Shabbat, Yom Kippur on a weekday and Yom Kippur on Shabbat. The terms “new or old” for the candle refer to the lighting of this candle before the holy day or after, respectively.

BlessingShabbatYom Kippur WeekdayYom Kippur Shabbat
CandleNew or OldOldOld or New
Week Day

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