697. Havdalah

96:3 Just as it is a mitzvah to sanctify Shabbos on a cup of wine as it enters, it is a mitzvah to sanctify it on a cup of wine as it departs. This is done by reciting havdalah. We also recite blessings over spices and on a candle. Women are also obligated to hear havdalah so they should listen to it carefully. (Some opinions say that women are not obligated in havdalah - OC 296:8. See later, 96:14, for a practical ramification of this opinion.) In a place where wine is not available, one may make havdalah on beer, mead, or any other beverage that is considered a local drink, excluding water. (If wine is available, he must use wine unless he truly prefers beer - Bi'ur Halacha 296:2 s.v. im hu chamar medinah.)   96:4 Once night falls on Saturday, one may not eat or drink anything other than water before havdalah. However, if the third Shabbos meal extends even into the night, it is permitted to keep eating because it was permissible when the meal began. (If one is drinking outside of the context of a meal, he must stop when it starts to get dark - Mishnah Brurah 299:5.) It's even permitted to drink from the cup used for bentching because this is connected to the meal. This is only the case if one's practice always to bentch over a cup; if one sometimes bentches without a cup, relying on those authorities who say that a cup is not indispensable for bentching, it is forbidden for him to drink from the cup used for bentching before he hears havdalah. (There is a difference of opinion as to whether one may resume the meal if they took a break to daven Maariv. The Magen Avraham says it's possible that they may have to recite havdalah before eating any further - MB 299:4 - though others disagree - Shaarei Tziyon 299:8.)