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What is the history of the braided havdalah candle? Most of the sources I've found speak from an Ashkenazi perspective who usually used candles instead of oil for all lighting purposes. So is a braided candle a specifically Ashkenazi tradition?

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  • I've seen from R. Mordechai Eliyahu mention en pessant it was to signify "Shamor" and "Zachor" which were "be-dibbur ehad ne'emru", therefore the candles intertwined. Don't think he singles out Ashkenazim or anyone else.
    – Oliver
    Nov 1, 2017 at 13:49
  • Double-checking R. Eliyahu's resp. (Mamar Mordechai 1:10) I see he inferred this reason from Bach (OC 263, s.v. ומ״ש ויש).
    – Oliver
    Nov 1, 2017 at 14:09
  • @Aaron the ref. I quoted is indeed speaking of braided (essentially, intertwined)
    – Oliver
    Nov 1, 2017 at 17:00
  • The Bach there is referring to the candles lit on Shabbos night, not for havdala.
    – N.T.
    Jun 11, 2021 at 23:02

1 Answer 1

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You're supposed to use a candle with multiple wicks for Havdalah. The easiest, if not only, way to make candles like that is to braid them. Hence the braided candles. This wouldn't be just Ashkenazim, but anyone who uses a candle for Havdalah (as opposed to a oil lamp).

https://www.sefaria.org/Pesachim.8a.4?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en

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    Hello Devin and welcome to Mi Yodeya! We are glad to have you. Is it possible for you to find some sources to add to your answer? It would greatly improve your post
    – Aaron
    Jun 9, 2021 at 21:53
  • @Devine, specifically, you might edit in this source: sefaria.org/Pesachim.8a.4?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en where an avuka is a torch, defined as multiple wicks. Jun 10, 2021 at 11:46
  • also, if you wanted, another source which specifically targets the braiding, under the meaning of avuka (though that wasn't the point of your answer): sefaria.org/… Jun 10, 2021 at 12:20

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