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My family's custom is that, on motzae Shabas, someone making havdala, after drinking from the cup, pours some of the wine into the saucer (which, note, already had wine, because we overflow the cup on pouring it), and extinguishes the flame of the havdala candle in it.

Why extinguish the flame that way specifically, instead of by blowing it out or another means?


(I see that the Taame Haminhagim (416) says "so it will be apparent to everyone that the flame was lit only for the mitzva" of havdala. However, it seems from his footnote there ("therefore, if he made havdala on a household candle not lit for [havdala], then he need not extinguish it") that the reason he's giving is for why we extinguish the flame, and not for why we extinguish it in the wine specifically. While one could say that his reason also implies one should extinguish the flame in the wine, making a symbolic connection between the flame and the havdala, that seems weak to me, and I seek a source for it, or a different answer.)

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1 Answer 1

Your question was asked of the Ohr Somayach "Ask the Rabbi" who answers about three things:

1) Extinguishing the havdalah candle immediately after havdalah

2) Extinguishing it in wine

3) Not blowing out candles in general

On 2, he says,

""Wine spilling like water," says the Talmud, "is a sign of blessing." In order to start the week off right, we fill the cup of havdalah so that a little spills out. And not only do we spill wine, but we spill it 'like water.' That is, we use it lavishly -- to put out a flame; something you would never think of doing with wine."

All his sources (not checked by me):

Rama, Orach Chaim 296:1

Shulchan Aruch HaRav 296:5

Kaf Hachaim, Yoreh De'ah chapter 116 halacha 115

Responsa Rivevot Ephraim IV 45:35, that one shouldn't blow out a flame

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+1, very nice, thanks. @HachamGabriel, I linked to that in my question. –  msh210 Jul 1 '12 at 20:58

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