HA-MAVDIL (Heb. הַמַּבְדִּיל; "who distinguishes"), name of a hymn sung in the *Havdalah ceremony at the close of the Sabbath. The acrostic yields the name of the author Isaac the Younger (probably Isaac b. Judah *Ibn Ghayyat of Spain (1030–1089)). There are two versions of the hymn; in both the refrain starts: "May He who maketh a distinction between holy and profane pardon our sins (in most versions: "and our wealth"); may he multiply our offspring as the sand and as the stars in the night." The hymn was probably composed for the concluding service (Ne'ilah) of the Day of Atonement. One version is still recited as a selihah piyyut in the Ne'ilah service of some of the Sephardi rites (e.g., Algeria); the other, and better known version, has become the standard hymn for the Havdalah service in all Jewish rites, including the Karaite one.
Zunz, Poesie, 14ff.; Hertz, Prayer, 750ff.; Davidson, Oẓar, 2 (1929), 147ff., nos. 741ff.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.