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  • Shabbat and Holidays
  • Havdalah

Wearing a blanket during havdalah

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Rabbi David Sperling

Cheshvan 25, 5782
Question
Is someone permitted to wrap them self in a blanket or wear pajamas during Havdalah? Thanks kindly.
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. In issues like this one needs to make a distinction between the ideal way to behave, and the minimum requirements. Ideally one should make havdallah still wearing their Shabbat cloths, and with the Shabbat table still covered with the Shabbat tablecloth (see Mishna Brurah 262, (8)). This is appropriate because we are accompanying the Shabbat “Queen” in her departure. Just as one would not put on their pajamas before an important guest left the house, so too one should say havdallah (and perhaps eat the Malavah Malka meal) still dressed in their Shabbat finery. However, all this is only in an ideal state. From the letter of the law Havdallah can certainly be said wearing pajamas, and or wrapped in a blanket. Someone ill, for example, who can manage to get out of their sick bed to hear havdallah, would be excused for not dressing up. Or young kids who are in their pajamas and ready for bed, but have been given the special treat of being allowed to stay up for havdallah, would be acceptable. With this in mind, you may want to balance out different pros and cons of your situation. If getting (back) into Shabbat cloths is going to cause tension or fights, anger or resentment – then having a happier havdallah is probably a lot more important that correct dress (just as one wouldn’t accompany important guests out wearing pajamas, one certainly wouldn’t start a fight in their house before the guest left!). I hope this will help you somewhat. Blessings.
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