Limmud NY Notes: Lost versions of Havdalah

I went to Limmud NY 2011 and wrote a lot of posts about it. Here’s a guide to them.

Elie Kaunfer, whose sessions I have successfully enjoyed at all of the four Limmud NYs I’ve been to, taught a session called “Lost Versions of Havdalah.” So here’s the usual one, from Pesachim 103a-b:

Hamavdil bein kodesh lechol, bein or lechoshech, bein Yisrael le’amim, bein yom hashevi’i leshshet yamei hamaaseh.

Who separates between holy and mundane, between light and dark, between Israel and the nations, between the seventh day and the six days of creation.

The lost one Elie was teaching, preserved in Pesachim 104a and also in a litrugical text from the Cairo Genizah begins the same way but continues with:

…bein tamei letahor, bein hayam lecharavah, bein mayim ha’elyonim lemayim hatachtonim, bein Cohanim leLevi’im veYisraelim.

…between impure and pure, between the sea and dry land, between the upper waters and the lower waters. between Priests, Levites and Israelites.

There were a bunch of other source texts and discussion of cool things. It was fun.

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10 Responses to Limmud NY Notes: Lost versions of Havdalah

  1. BZ January 18, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

    I think the one we use now is more coherent, since all 4 distinctions boil down to “Shabbat vs. not-Shabbat”.

    • David A.M. Wilensky January 19, 2011 at 1:06 am #

      Yeah. It was more interesting with all of the source texts present, but it was agreed by most that the shorter version is more coherent.

      Those texts, by the way, in the order they are on Elie’s handout:
      Pesachim 103a-b
      Pesachim 104a
      Lev. 10:8-11
      Ezek. 22:23-28
      Gen. 1:3-9
      Ex. 14:21-22
      Lev. 20:22-26
      Ezek. 46:1
      Deut. 10:8-9
      Pesachim 104a
      Yer. Berachot 8:1; 11d
      Beitzah 17a
      Shabbat 53b

  2. ML January 19, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    I’ve been on a many-year drive to include more of the traditional texts in the Havdalah service (like beginning with singing Hinei El) as well as songs that have largely fallen out of use (like Amar Hashem L’Ya’akov).

    Thank you, David, for all of these posts from Limmud. I won’t comment on all of them but they are being read.

    • David A.M. Wilensky January 19, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

      Comment, read, whatever you like, ML.

      I don’t know Amar Hashem. What is it? Where’s it from?

      • BZ January 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

        It’s one of the zemirot for Saturday night that can be found in a bencher on the frummer side.

        • BZ January 19, 2011 at 11:38 pm #

          Or see the Artscroll siddur, p. 624.

          • ML January 20, 2011 at 12:04 am #

            I noted that one in particular for a couple of reasons.

            1) I wrote my own melody and arrangement for it.

            2) It’s really easy to join in on. The zemer’s format lends nicely to a call and response, the response being “al tirah avdi ya’akov”

            I only know two melodies for Hinei El, but generally like using the Carlebach one most.

  3. Mark Glickman January 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    If you are interested in the Cairo Genizah, you may also want to read the book I just wrote on the subject – “Sacred Treasure – The Cairo Genizah,” recently published by Jewish Lights Publishing.

    Rabbi Mark Glickman
    Woodinville, WA


  1. Index to the 13 Limmud NY Notes posts | The Reform Shuckle - January 18, 2011

    […] Lost Versions of Havdalah is about a session Elie Kaunfer taught about a longer version of Havdalah preserved in the Talmud and in the Cairo Genizah. […]