“The Candle and Spices” – Traditional Yemenite Havdalah Song

This low quality 3 minute long video features Achinoam Nini singing a beautiful a capella version of the Yemenite song “The Candle and Spices,” traditionally sung at the Yemenite Havdalah ceremony. This poem is written by the sixteenth-century Yemenite poet Sa’adiah. Nini is an Israeli singer from a Yemenite Jewish family. The English translation of the Hebrew lyrics below were posted on Ritualwell.org, a project of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College that provides a platform for creating new Jewish practices and observances.

The Candle and Spices

My soul longs for the candle and the spices.
If only you would pour me a cup of wine for Havdalah.

O angels on high, pave a way for me,
clear the path for the bewildered [daughter of Zion]
and open the gates that I may enter.

My heart yearning,
I shall lift up my eyes to the Lord,
who provides for my needs day and night.

From the treasures of your goodness,
give me the minimum I need,
for your goodness has no end nor limit.
Rejuvenate my joy, my bread and my blessing,
Remove all sorrow, pain and darkness.

Now the days of activity begin once again
May they be renewed in peace and in goodness.