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Havdalah Customs

When making Havdala, during the beracha of besamim and ner, how should one be holding the kos and the besamim/hand to the ner?

Also, what exactly is the minhag to dip fingers into the wine and place a drop in different places? Which places? Where is the makor for this?


During the blessing on the besamin, one’s right hand is occupied with holding the besamim, and therefore the cup is placed on the table. Some hold the cup in their left hand when reciting the blessing over the besamim, and then return the cup to their right hand (Rema, 296:6; Mishnah Berurah).

There is a custom, whose source is in Pirkei De’Rabbi Eliezer (20), to dip one’s fingers in the wine (in the original source, the wine is first mixed with water), and place the drops upon one’s eyes (see also Mordechai, beginning of Yoma; see also Sukkah 38). This brings healing to the eyes, as the Gemara writes (Berachos 43): a person’s sight is returned at kiddush and hadvalah. Some place droplets of wine into the pockets, as an omen for prosperity (the blessing of Shabbos should be brought into the week).

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