Words of Wisdom

“The first of the requests in the Amidah (silent prayer) is the blessing asking for wisdom and knowledge… This is the foundation for all requests, for one must ask from the Creator for upright intellect and knowledge to reject evil and choose good… This is followed by “Hashivenu” (“Return us to you in repentance”), for through knowledge one becomes aware of one’s misdeeds… For this reason as well, the section of Havdalah (lit. “Separation”) is inserted into the blessing for wisdom (at the departure of the Sabbath, when we divide the holy day from the mundane), for distinguishing between one thing and another requires wisdom… The connection between Havdalah and the intellectual faculties is further hinted in the word binah (בינה — “understanding”), which is comprised of the initial letters ב (“b”) for בשמים (besamim) — spices, י (“y”) for יין (yayin) — wine, נ (“n”) for נר (ner) — candle, and ה (“h”) for הבדלה (Havdalah) — the blessing for separation. (These are the four elements of the havdalah ceremony.)”

-Mishnah Berurah 115:1:1


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s