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Before saying the blessings relevant to havdala on motzei shabbos, we (Ashkenazim) include a bunch of p'sukim:

  • "הִנֵּה אֵל יְשׁוּעָתִי אֶבְטַח וְלֹא אֶפְחָד כִּי עָזִּי וְזִמְרָת יָהּ יְהוָה וַיְהִי לִי לִישׁוּעָה. וּשְׁאַבְתֶּם מַיִם בְּשָׂשׂוֹן מִמַּעַיְנֵי הַיְשׁוּעָה" (Yeshayahu 12:2-3)
  • "לַיהוָה הַיְשׁוּעָה עַל עַמְּךָ בִרְכָתֶךָ סֶּלָה" (Tehillim 3:9)
  • "יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת עִמָּנוּ מִשְׂגָּב לָנוּ אֱלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב סֶלָה" (Tehillim 46:12)
  • "יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת אַשְׁרֵי אָדָם בֹּטֵחַ בָּךְ" (Tehillim 84:13)
  • "יְהוָה הוֹשִׁיעָה הַמֶּלֶךְ יַעֲנֵנוּ בְיוֹם קָרְאֵנוּ" (Tehillim 20:10)
  • "לַיְּהוּדִים הָיְתָה אוֹרָה וְשִׂמְחָה וְשָׂשֹׂן וִיקָר" (Esther 8:16) [Then we add "כן תהיה לנו"]
  • "כּוֹס יְשׁוּעוֹת אֶשָּׂא וּבְשֵׁם יְהוָה אֶקְרָא" (Tehillim 116:13)

What is the history of these p'sukim prefacing the b'rachos of havdala, and what is their significance? Why these specific verses over any others?

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The connection seems to be yeshua, but I don't know the connection to Havdala/Yetzias shabbos. –  YDK Nov 21 '11 at 2:37
    
I bet its to save the souls from going back to gehenom. Also, the verses refer to various parts of the havdalah service itself. (or and Kos) –  avi Nov 21 '11 at 6:39
    
The German minhag does not include bullets 4 and 5. –  JXG Nov 23 '11 at 16:28
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1 Answer

See the Rema on Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 296:1, which brings 3 (or maybe 4) of the verses (but in a different order), and says it is for a "Siman Tov", a good sign.

See Dayan Raskin's Siddur (footnote 8) where he discusses the various sources for the different verses we say before the blessings.

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