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First of all, the specific language of what you've heard, that "as the berachah on the havdalah candle is made..." is not necessarily correct; either the bracha should be before the checking, or the fingernail-checking should be done before the blessing, but not at the same time. (As to which one comes first: R. Moshe Feinstein, in Igros Moshe O.C. 5:9 ...


As noted by Ishyehudi: It is from the Meam Loez (Ki Savo, 27:26)


The Shulchan Aruch 61:5 writes: נוהגין ליתן ידיהם על פניהם בקריאת פסוק ראשון כדי שלא יסתכל בדבר אחר שמונעו מלכוין: And the Mishna Brurah 17 explains it as: ידיהם - ר"ל יד ימין The Rivevos Ephraim 4:44:97 brings two ideas one that one takes both hands the left in the right and covers their eyes so they cant see and be disturbed from their kavana. He also ...

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