After havdala we often sing "Hamavdil ben kodesh l'chol". The second line asks for forgiveness of our sins. Why is forgiveness of our sins our concern so early in the week? Does it imply we have been concerned with this all shabbat and now want to wipe the slate clean for the new week? Are our sins (individual or collective) an appropriate (or even mandated) topic of concern and reflection on shabbat?

  • 1
    Because it rhymes.
    – Loewian
    Mar 15, 2015 at 17:00
  • @loewian "forgiveness" is a big theme in the zener that goes far beyond the rhyme scheme.
    – LN6595
    Mar 15, 2015 at 22:02
  • I haven't quite worked this out, but it seems to me that a new period of time is always a time of forgiveness. Think Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur Katan before Rosh Chodesh. Motzei Shabbos would be a similar idea...
    – LN6595
    Mar 15, 2015 at 22:03
  • Perhaps this is asking forgiveness for inadvertent sins done during Shabbat itself? E.g. - sins we either didn't know were sins?
    – DanF
    Mar 16, 2015 at 16:14

2 Answers 2


Chassam Soffer has a Tshuva in Chelek Orach Chaim siman 67 where he says he sings this every Motzai Shabbos, but he conceded that it was originally meant to be sung on Motzai Yom Kippur, as he brings from the Mordechai at the end of Maseches Yoma. That is why there is a focus on having our sins forgiven.

  • +1 - can you find this teshuva? (I voiced this theory before and would like to have a Chasam Sofer to back me up) Mar 15, 2015 at 19:22
  • @Yez I can biezras Hashem. I'm not sure when, but it's on my list of things to do.
    – user6591
    Mar 15, 2015 at 19:28
  • The Wikitext entry for המבדיל בין קודש לחול adds several verses, the first of which starts תנה לנו שבוע טוב, thus adapting the zemiroh for .מוצאי שבת Mar 15, 2015 at 20:46
  • @Yez ping (15 char)
    – user6591
    Mar 16, 2015 at 23:27

Pri Tzadik Parshas Bo - page 53 discusses this at length. I will attempt to explain it to the best of my ability. Based on the Gemara in Shabbos 118b Shabbos is a time of forgiveness for sins, as one who keeps Shabbos properly, even if they did the sin of Avoda Zara, is forgiven. Motzei Shabbos where we go from a very high level to a significantly low level we pray at that time to remain pure.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .