What should our thoughts be when havdala is being made?
Havdalah is like Kiddush; it’s included in the mitzvah of זכור את יום השבת לקדשו. It’s a mitzvah of proclaiming the Shabbos; and so we proclaim the Shabbos when it comes in and we proclaim it when it goes out.
When a king comes into the city they stand with bugles and they sound a welcome. And when the king is finally leaving they sound the salutation again with the bugles. And so we are saying goodbye to Shabbos Hamalka by making havdala. And of course, we make a melave malka to accompany the queen on the way out also.
Some hold that havdalah is part of the mitzvos asei of zochor. Whatever it is, it certainly is intended in the command; zochor – proclaim the day of Shabbos.
So when you are saying havdalah think of the great principle that the world was created out of nothing. Isn’t that a good idea? It’s the last thing a lot of people would think about but it’s a wonderful idea. Havdalah is to remind you that the world was created out of nothing and it is all nothing but the will of Hashem; it is only His imagination. There is no such thing as sky and no such thing as earth; it is only His will that became concretized and changed into these materials.
And therefore when you make Havdalah you should think about this fundamental of the emunah – briyas ha’olom yesh me’ayin.
Also, you should think that the world was made for a nation that would choose to serve Hashem. That’s why He made the world and that is why Shabbos and the election of Am Yisroel go together. And therefore you say המבדיל בין ישראל לעמים – You separated between us and the rest of the nations. Because we are the purpose of the world. We are not humble about that! We can’t afford to deny that great principle. We have to proclaim what Hakodosh Boruch Hu Himself told us, that the world was created for a nation that would serve Him. And we chose to serve Him.
And these two elements should be emphasized when you are making havdalah. Number one, you are announcing that Hashem created the world out of nothing. And two, you are announcing that He chose the Am Yisroel as His beloved people.
TAPE # 423 (October 1982)