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Suppose someone finds themselves with no candle to do Havdolah with. He neither has a Havdolah candle nor two candles in which to put together and light. What should he do?

I would assume he would recite Havdolah like normal, only omitting the brocha of borei m'orei ho'eish but then again I could very well be wrong.

What about the similar case of not having any spices to smell?

  • You can make the bracha on just one candle. I think there's discussion about an incandescent lightbulb, but there are more complexities involved than for Shabbos candles because it might not be אש. – Heshy Aug 4 '17 at 14:51
  • @Heshy I think it's the opposite in terms of complexity. An incandescent bulb is definitely אש but it may not be a נר. It has no energy reserve, for instance (unless maybe it's battery operated). – Double AA Aug 4 '17 at 14:55
  • @DoubleAA I know the energy supply is an issue on Chanuka, which isn't relevant here, but I thought there were other potential issues for havdala. Maybe I'm remembering wrong. – Heshy Aug 4 '17 at 15:47
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You are essentially correct. There is a blessing to be said when you see fire on Saturday night. It is essentially entirely independent of Havdalah. If you're making Havdalah anyway (99% of cases) then the custom is to say that blessing at that time to give it honor (or something like that). But if you don't have fire available that certainly doesn't preclude saying Havdalah. Similarly if you have fire available but no cup of wine, you say the blessing on fire alone. (All the above applies to the spices as well.)

See Shulchan Arukh OC 297-8:1.

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  • Noteworthy is that a woman who says havdala does so without the lights' bracha (even if lights are available) according to some opinions. – msh210 Aug 4 '17 at 6:25
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Not having any spices is certainly not a havdallah stopper.

Proof: when Yom Tov coincides with after Shabbat, we say Havdallah (as part of Kiddush) without smelling spices.

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  • Well in that case there is no need to have spices. What about weeks where there is such a need? – Double AA Aug 4 '17 at 16:27

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