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(Halachos pertaining to blessings on pleasant scents)



1) One who smells something with a pleasant scent must recite a blessing, known as Birchas HaRayach, the “Blessing on Scents”.
Chazal (Talmud Brachos 43b) derive this Halacha from the Posuk “Kol Haneshama Tehalel Kah- Every Soul should praise Hashem” (The very last Posuk in Tehillim)
“What is something (i.e. which of the five senses is it) that the Neshama (soul) can derive pleasure from and not the Guf) physical body)?
The sense of Smell! (See Ben Ish Chai Parshas V’Eschanan Siman 61 where he expounds upon this concept of the sense of smell being a spiritual sense more than seeing or hearing something holy. See also Shu”t Halachos Ketanos Vol. 2 Siman 160)
2) Another reason that Chazal instituted this Bracha was due to the fact that one may not derive pleasure from this world without thanking Hashem, thus before enjoying a pleasant scent, similar to before enjoying a pleasant food, we must first thank Hashem by reciting a Bracha! (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 216:1 and Mishna Berura S”K 1)
According to some Poskim, if it is something whose purpose is for scent, a Bracha will be required  even if one didn’t have intention to smell it, as long as one in fact enjoyed the scent (See Aruch HaShulchan Siman 216:6. See also Shu”t Teshuvos  V’Hanhagos Vol. 2 Siman 134 regarding one who does not enjoy a smell, if he recites the Bracha on Besamim on Motzei Shabbos by Havdalah)


1)Unlike with food and drink, there is no requirement for a Bracha Achrona after enjoying a pleasant smell.
One reason is that the pleasure of smelling something pleasant is minimal, and less significant than the pleasure of eating and drinking. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 216:1 and Mishna Berura S”K 4)
Additionally, after smelling it the pleasure is totally over, and is likened to food that has already been digested, where no Bracha Achrona can be recited anymore. (See Sha’ar HaTzion S”K 3. See Aruch HaShulchan 216:2 and Kaf HaChaim 216:10 for some additional reasons)
2) One who smells a new pleasant scent or something that he/she hasn’t smelled in a long time does not recite the Bracha of SheHechiyanu. (See Mishna Berura Siman 225:16 where he quotes various opinions about this, but rules like the Poskim who say not to recite it.)
Some Poskim rule to say it without Hashem’s name, but that is not the prevalent custom.


1)There are a few conditions that must be met before a scent will require a Bracha before smelling it, details of which we will now begin discussing.
A Bracha is only recited over a scent that has a tangible source (referred to in halacha as Yesh Bo Ikar). In other words, the item that is being smelled must be the item that is emitting the scent. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 217:3)
Therefore, an article of clothing, a food, or a utensil that was near something that has a scent and absorbed the scent does not require a Bracha when one smells the scent on the clothing, food or utensil. If one recites a Bracha on such an item it is a
Bracha L’Vatala (See Mishna Berura 217:15)
2) Similarly, when one enters a room in which aromatic spices were stored, but  are no longer there, no Bracha is recited when inhaling the scent even if it is enjoyed, as the spices are no longer there. (See Biur Halacha 217:3 Dibur Hamaschil Ela Rayach)


1) A Bracha is only recited on something whose purpose is to emit a pleasant scent.
However, when smelling something whose purpose is to cover up a bad odor no Bracha is recited. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 217:2)
Some examples of the latter: spices used to hide the smell in a morgue, air fresheners that hang in cars or in restrooms [for the purpose of eliminating odors, smoke etc.], pleasant smelling soaps [that are made to clean dirty hands or other parts of the body], lotions, pleasant smelling detergents or dish soap, pleasant smelling deodorants [made to cover up or prevent sweat].
All of the above do not require a Bracha as their purpose is to prevent or eliminate bad smells and not intrinsically for their own good scents. (See Shu”t Ohr L’Tzion Perek 14:38 where he rules that if one purchases a car freshener specifically to enjoy the smell, and not to cover up any odors, a Bracha may be recited. This is also the Psak of Rav Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg Shlita, quoted in V’Zos HaBracha Chapter 19. Other Poskim, however, rule that since the manufacturers produce them to cover up odors, no Bracha is recited even if one wants to enjoy the smell. See Shu”t Avnei Yashfe Vol. 2 Siman 16:3 and 4)
2) Moreover, one who takes Besamim or another item which usually requires a Bracha, and uses it in a way to cover up a bad odor, does not recite a Bracha.
Even other people who may have pleasure from this Besamim [being used to cover up a bad smell] do not recite a Bracha, even if they want to have pleasure from the smell, as this particular Besamim is now being used as an odor eliminator and not for its intrinsic scent value. (See Mishna Berura Siman 217:10 and Sha’ar HaTzion S”K 16 and 21. See also Ohr L’Tzion and Avnei Yashfe ibid.)


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh
1) One who enters a spice store and smells their pleasurable fragrance, if smelling the “samples” that are displayed at the entrance to the store a Bracha must be recited, as they are placed there for the purpose of smelling for those passing buy to attract them to enter the store to make a purchase. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 217:1 and Mishna Berura S”K 1. We shall discuss which Bracha to recite in the near future iy”H)
Even if one enters the store for a purpose other than to smell or buy spices, if they are smelled even without intention to do so, a Bracha is recited. (Mishna Berura 217:2. See Kaf HaChaim 217:2 where he writes that if one is in such a situation it is best to specifically have in mind to want to enjoy the smell.)
However, if one smells the spices that are in their closed containers/boxes, or if one smells the aroma of the spices from the back room or the storage room, no Bracha is recited as in this state they are meant for selling/trade and not for smelling. (Mishna Berura 217:1)
2) The aforementioned is only if one smells it unintentionally, then we say that since it wasn’t meant to be smelled no Bracha is required. However, if one picks up the closed container/box with the intention to smell it, it is then considered as meant to be smelled and a Bracha will indeed be required. (Ruling of the Mishna Berura ibid. The Chazon Ish Orach Chaim Siman 35:1 argues and maintains that if it is intended for sale, even when it is picked up and smelled no Bracha is required. See also Aruch
HaShulchan Siman 216:6)
Similarly if the owner of the store hands over a sample to smell, a Bracha will be required. (See Sha’ar HaTzion 217:1)


1) A Bracha may only be recited on pleasant smells from which it is permitted to derive pleasure.
Therefore if the pleasant smelling item is from Avoda Zara (e.g. incense used in the worshipping of idols, something which is not very prevalent today as we hardly have any real Avoda Zara) or  perfume/cologne on a member of the opposite gender that is prohibited to you, it is forbidden to smell them at all  and certainly no Bracha is recited over them. (Shulchan Aruch 217:4 and 5. See also Mishna Berura Siman 217:16 -19.  See Shu”t Ohr L’tzion Perek 14:39 regarding perfume that is often worn by a woman that is prohibited to you, while still in the bottle if it is prohibited to smell. See also Pischei Teshuva Yoreh Deah Siman 195:1 where he rules stringently. We shall B’Ezras Hashem discuss which perfumes/colognes may require a Bracha and when  in the near future)
2) A pleasant smelling food item which isn’t kosher, but is designated for smelling, may be smelled a Bracha may be recited over it.
However, if it is designated for eating, it may not be smelled lest one come to eat it. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 216:2 and Biur Halacha Dibur Hamaschil HaMusak)
Chametz on Pesach may not be smelled. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 443:1 and Biur Halacha)


1) A Bracha is only recited on a strong, distinct smell and not on a faint scent smell which takes effort to discern.
Therefore, Besamim or other pleasant smelling items that are dried out or otherwise lost their potency (very common with Besamim that have been sitting in a Besamim box for a very long time, where they lose their sharp scent and they must be sniffed very closely and hard in order to discern their scent) should not be used for Havdalah, as most likely they no longer require a Bracha, and doing so would be a Bracha L’Vatalah. It is recommended to replenish the Besamim box every few months to ensure strong smelling scents. (See Mishna Berura Siman 216:55, Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 3 Siman 54. See also Sefer V’Zos HaBracha Perek 19 quoting Rav Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg shlita that such faint smells are considered “Rayach Sh’Ain Bo Ikar”. And thus do not require a Bracha, as we discussed a few days ago)
2) Man-made scents that are not natural, and are manufactured synthetically, is a subject of debate amongst the Poskim if a Bracha is required, thus, due to the rule of Safek Brachos L’Hakel (whenever it is a question if a Bracha is required, we rule to not say a Bracha, in order not to say Hashem’s name in vain Chas V’Shalom) no Bracha would be recited on such a scent.
Thus, most of the perfumes, colognes, body sprays etc. that are on the market today would not require a Bracha as they are produced synthetically to acquire a certain smell, and aren’t naturally fragrant. (See Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchasa Perek 61:12 and footnote 232 quoting Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal. It is important to note that even natural perfumes that would require a Bracha would only require it when smelling it in the bottle, and not when smelling it after  it is already applied to a person[on whom it is permissible to smell], as it would then be considered “Rayach Sh’Ain Bo Ikar”. See also Shu”t Ohr L’Tzion Perek 46:54 and Shu”t Avnei Yashfeh Vol. 2 Siman 16)
Potpourri (which is basically flower petals, bark and other materials which have no intrinsic smells, and are sprayed with perfumes and other synthetic smells) does not require a Bracha when being smelled as it isn’t naturally fragrant.


1) The proper Bracha to recite on pleasant smelling items depends on what variety of item it is, as there are a few different possible Brachos to recite, as we will now discuss.
The four basic categories are:
One who smells a tree or bush [or a flower that grows from a tree or a bush, such as a rose, or any other natural byproduct of a tree such as rose extract] that emits a pleasant scent, recites “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam Borei Atzei Besamim- Creator of pleasant smelling Trees” [This applies as well  to ground up tree bark that emits a scent, even if the bark had no scent when it was standing] (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 322:5, Sha’ar HaTzion Siman 216:5 and 19)
One who smells a grass or flower that emits a pleasant scent, recites “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam Borei Isvei Besamim- Creator of pleasant smelling grasses” (See Mishna Berura  Siman 216:50 and Kaf HaChaim 216:79 and Pri Megadim(Mishbetzos Zahav) 216:12.  If one isn’t sure if the particular flower he/she is about to smell is from a tree or not, the proper Bracha to recite when one has a safek is Borei Minei Besamim. See Biur Halacha 216:3 Dibur Hamaschil Atzei Besamim)
2) One who smells a fruit, or other edible food, which emits a pleasant scent recites “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam HaNosen Rayach Tov B’Peiros- Who placed pleasant fragrances into fruits”
One who smells a pleasant scent from something that does not grow from the ground [more details of which we shall see in the coming days B'Ezras Hashem] should recite “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam Borei Minei Besamim- Creator of different kinds of fragrant items”





1)The Brachos on pleasant smells are recited equally for flowers/trees/fruits that are still growing and those that have already been cut down.
Therefore one who is strolling through an orchard [which is there for the purpose of smell] where the smells of various trees/flowers permeates the air, a Bracha must be recited. (See Biur Halacha 216:1 Dibur Hamaschil Mayriach. The Chazon Ish Siman 35:1 maintains that in such a case a Bracha would only be recited if the flower/fruit was actually held in the hand for the purposes of smelling. See also Kaf HaChaim 217:1 and Shu”t Avnei Yashfe Vol. 2 Siman 16)
2) However, if the fruits/flowers/trees in the orchard are there for the purpose of being cut down and sold at market or for the purposes of beauty such as a botanical gardens [or even a small garden in front of an individual home] and aren’t there for the purpose of smelling in their current state[as most orchards today are], no Brachos are recited. (See Shu”t Az Nidberu Vol. 14 Siman 11 and Shu”t Ohr L’Tzion Perek 14:37. In cases of uncertainty as to the intended purpose of the orchard, it is best to actually take a flower/fruit in the hand for the purpose of enjoying its fragrance, and recite a Bracha, and not rely simply on the fact that the smell is reaching you from where you are standing)


1) One who smelled water or oil which was used to soak a good smelling grass, fruit or tree, and thus absorbed their scent and became fragrant, is required to recite a Bracha. (See Mishna Berura 216:19 and Sha’ar HaTzion S”K 17)
The Bracha recited is the Bracha that would have been recited on the grass, fruit  or tree that was soaking in the water or oil.
If a variety of different grasses, fruits and trees [which require different Brachos, Atzei Besamim , Isvei Besamim, HaNosen Rayach Tov] were soaking in the water or if other items which do not grow from the ground were in the mixture, the proper Bracha to recite on the water or oil would then be “Borei Minei Besamim” (See Mishna Berura 216:26-28)
2) The above Halacha is only as long as some residue of the grass or tree remained in the water.
If, however, no residue remained at all, or the water was strained, the Poskim debate which Bracha to recite if any, and thus say to either recite “Borei Minei Besamim” or according to some Poskim it’s best to recite the Bracha on something else and exempt this water or oil, and if nothing else is available, to refrain from smelling it in the first place. (Some say that it receives its own Bracha of “Borei Shemen Arev- Creator of sweet smelling oils”. See Shulchan Aruch 216:6 and Mishna Berura S”K 32)
Similarly, if one squeezed a spice or flower and it produced a liquid, the Bracha required when smelling that liquid would be the Bracha of that particular spice or liquid. (e.g. rose extract would require “Borei Atzei Besamim) (Mishna Berura 216:19)


1)When smelling pleasant smelling things that do not grow from the ground, such as items derived from animals or other natural items, the proper Bracha to recite is “Borei Minei Besamim” (Shulchan Aruch  Siman 216:2 and Mishna Berura S”K 7)
2) One who places a pleasant smelling item in an oven or roasts it over coals where it smokes and produces a pleasant aroma, recites the same Bracha when smelling  this smoke as would have been made when smelling the actual item being roasted.
If a few different items with varying Brachos are being roasted, the proper Bracha to recite on the smoke is “Borei Minei Besamim” (Shulchan Aruch Siman 216:13 and Mishna Berura S”K 49. See also Aruch HaShulchan 216:13 and Shu”t Mishne Halachos Vol. 10 Siman 38)
One who smells cigarette smoke does not recite any Bracha, even if the smell is enjoyed. The reason for this is that it is being smoked for its taste and not for its aroma, similar to good smelling food which one wants to eat, where a Bracha is not recited on its mouth watering aroma. (See Aruch HaShulchan Siman 216:4. Some Poskim say that one who smells the tobacco before it is lit, and is doing so to enjoy the pleasant scent does indeed recite Borei Isvei Besamim. See Sefer Birchas HaBayis Siman 301:7)


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh
1) We mentioned earlier that one who smells a fruit or grass which is edible and also has a pleasant fragrance recites “Baruch Ata Hashem…Hanosen Rayach Tov B’Peiros- who put a good scent into fruits” (Shulchan Aruch 216:2)
This applies to fruits as well as to vegetables. (See Kaf HaChaim Siman 216:37)
Keep in mind that this applies only to fruits that have a very sharp and distinct smell (such as an Esrog), and not to most individual fruits and vegetables that are available today. (This is more common for very fresh fruit in large quantities. E.g. after going to the farm to pick fresh peaches, where their aroma is indeed distinct and deliciously strong)
2) When smelling the leaves or other good smelling parts of a fruit, the Bracha to recite would be “Borei Atzei Besamim”, as they aren’t considered fruits. Fruits that are not yet ripe, however, do receive a “Hanosen Rayach Tov B’Peiros”, even though they are not yet edible. (See Kaf HaChaim 216:25 and 26 and Sha’ar Hatzion 216:12)
When smelling good scented fruit peels, according to some Poskim they are considered fruit and “Hanosen Rayach Tov B’Peiros” is recited. Other Poskim maintain that only on the main fruit, and not on their peels would “Hanosen Rayach Tov B’Peiros” be recited. (See Aruch HaShulchan 216:14, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 58:7 and Kaf HaChaim ibid.)


1) The above applies to foods which require mixing with other foods in order to become edible as well, as even as such it is still considered edible. Therefore, one who smells freshly ground coffee [while it is hot] and is doing so in order to enjoy its scent, recites “Hanosen Rayach Tov B’Peiros” (See Mishna Berura Siman 216:8 and 16. See also Kaf HaChaim 216:86 where he writes that it is best to avoid smelling this coffee due to the safek over its Bracha if any)
2) The Bracha of “Hanosen Rayach Tov B’Peiros” is only recited on fruit/food whose main purpose is for consumption, and it happens to also smell good.  However, fruits/foods whose express purpose is usually for smelling, and only sometimes is eaten, does not get a “”Hanosen Rayach Tov B’Peiros” but rather a Borei “Atzei”, “Isvei” or “Minei” Besamin. (Depending on its source) (See Mishna Berura 216:16 ad Aruch HaShulchan 216:8)
When smelling Lemons (whose main purpose is for squeezing and not for eating) according to some Poskim the proper Bracha to recite is “Borei Minei Besamim”. Other Poskim disagree and maintain that it is a fruit and as such will still require
“Hanosen Rayach Tov B’Peiros” (See Ketzos HaShulchan Siman 62:9 and Yalkut Yosef 216:7)


1)The Bracha of “Hanosen Rayach Tov B’Peiros” is only recited when one is interested in smelling the fruit, even if the intention is to smell it and then to also eat it.
If the fruit is wanted only for eating, and as it is lifted one happens to smell its pleasant fragrance, no Bracha is recited, as in such a case it isn’t considered an item meant to be smelled. (See Mishna Berura 216:11. Interestingly, the Pri Megadim (Aishel Avraham) 216:5 quotes the Levush  that the reason for this is due to the Halachos of Ikar and Tafel; the smell factor is subordinate to the consumption factor, and only a Bracha on the Ikar- the eating- is recited)
This applies even if the fruit was not yet lifted to eat, and is sitting on the table and its fragrance is wafting in the air, since it is there for consumption, no Bracha is recited.
Likewise, other foods which are brought out to the table for consumption, even if their delicious aroma fills the room, no Bracha is recited on their smell due to their purpose being for consumption. (See Biur Halacha Siman 216 Dibur Hamaschil K’Shenatlo and Dibur Hamaschil Af Al Pi)
In fact, even if one lifts up the food and  specifically wants to enjoy the aroma of a dish that was brought out to the table, no Bracha may be recited, as it was prepared and  brought out to eat, and cannot be considered something whose purpose is for its smell. (See Biur Halacha 216:2 Dibur Hamaschil V’Lo and Dibur Hamaschil O L’Achlo)
2) If the host brings out fruit for consumption, the guests may not decide that they want them for their fragrance, as since the host brought it out for eating, it is no longer considered an item whose purpose is for smelling, and thus no Bracha may be recited on itsfragrance (See Kaf HaChaim 216:29)
For Besamim by Havdalah on Motzei Shabbos it is best to have a special pleasant scented item set aside and not simply take something from the refrigerator or the spice rack at random , as according to some Poskim one may never recite a Bracha when smelling items that are intended for eating purposes. (See Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchaso Perek 61:30)


1) One, who takes a fruit for the purpose of smelling it as well as for the purpose of eating it, should not recite both Brachos consecutively.
Rather, according to many Poskim, the Bracha should first  be recited on the scent which is the first pleasure that one will experience, and the fruit should be smelled.
Afterwards, the Bracha should be recited on the fruit, and it should be eaten. (See Mishna Berura 216:1 quoting the opinion of the Elya Rabba and the Ma’amar Mordechai. See also Kaf HaChaim 216:28)
2) Alternatively, according to some Poskim, the Bracha may be recited on eating the fruit, and a little should be tasted, and it should be had in mind not to enjoy the smell of the fruit while tasting it.
Afterwards, the Bracha should be recited on its scent, and it should then be smelled. (Mishna Berura ibid. quoting the Pri Megadim. See also Shu”t Even Yisroel Vol. 9 Siman 63 for more about this.)


1) One who smells an Esrog at any time throughout the year besides for on Sukkos, recites the Bracha “Baruch Ata Hashem…Hanosen Rayach Tov B’Peiros”
However, during the seven days of Sukkos, when the Esrog is an object used for a Mitzvah, the Poskim debate whether a Bracha is recited on its smell or not.
Therefore, it is best to refrain from smelling an Esrog throughout the entire Yom Tov of Sukkos, as to avoid this Safek, and if one went ahead and smelled it during Sukkos, no Bracha would be recited. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 216:14, Mishna Berura S”K53 and Biur Halacha HaMayriach. Regarding Shmini Atzeres, see Kaf HaChaim 216:81 what he quotes from the Taz. Regarding smelling the Esrog on Shabbos of Sukkos, see Sha’ar HaTzion 658:4, Mishna Berura 653:2 Halichos Shlomo Perek 23:37)
The Hadasim (myrtle) that are used in the Lulav for the duration of Sukkos, may not be smelled as they are designated for the Mitzvah and not for smelling (Huktzah L’Mitzvasan) (See Shulchan Aruch 653:1 and Mishna Berura S”K 1 why  Hadasim are more stringent than Esrogim in this Halacha)
2) There is a debate in the Poskim regarding one who smells hot bread that is emitting a pleasant aroma. Some Poskim maintain that the Bracha of “Hanosen Rayach Tov B’Peiros [or B'Pas- the text brought by the Rama based on the Abudraham]” is recited, as it is similar to other pleasant smelling foods.
Other Poskim, however, maintain that no Bracha is recited on this smell as it isn’t strong and distinct enough to require a Bracha, [even if it was specifically picked up solely for smelling].
Therefore, due to the above Safek, it is best to refrain from purposely smelling this aroma with the intent of enjoying its smell. If one went ahead and smelled it anyway, no Bracha is recited. (See Mishna Berura 216:54-56 and Sha’ar HaTzion S”K 47. This applies to all breads as well as to all pastries, according to most Poskim. See Kaf HaChaim 216:85 and Aruch HaShulchan 216:14)


1) It is proper to recite the Bracha on the pleasant smelling item, before smelling it, just as the Bracha on food is recited before tasting it. (Mishna Berura 216:3)
The Bracha should be recited immediately prior to smelling, and not while one is still preparing the item to be smelled (unlike some people who mistakenly recite Borei Minei Besamim by Havdalah, and then start grinding the spices to prepare them to emit a strong scent. This grinding should be done before the Bracha)
If the Bracha was recited while preparing it, as long as there was no interruption (Hefsek) then it is acceptable B’dieved, and no new Bracha is required. (Mishna Berura 216:48)
2) If one forgot and smelled the item without reciting a Bracha, the Bracha can still be recited as long as the item is still being smelled, but not after finishing smelling. (Mishna Berura 216: 3 and 47. See also Shu”t Minchas Shlomo Vol. 2 Siman 4:24 that the Bracha can still be recited after the smelling, if it was Toch K’Dei Dibur.)


1)There is no obligation to hold the Besamim in your hands while the Bracha is recited; the Bracha may be recited with the Besamim on the table ready to be smelled. (See Biur Halacha Siman 216:12 Dibur Hamaschil Kodem. See also Shu”t Minchas Yitzchok Vol. 4 Siman 86)


The above is only B’dieved, as L’Chatchilah it is indeed best to hold the Besamim in your right hand when reciting the Bracha, and not simply have them on the table. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 206:4 and Mishna Berura S”K 17 and Ben Ish Chai Parshas V’Eschanan Siman 63)

2) It is best to smell the Besamim directly, and not do it through a cloth or  another covering (as many Besamim holders have). Even if using a covering with holes in it , it is ideal to ensure that the holes are large enough to allow the smell of the Besamim to come through strongly and properly, lest it be considered a Rayach Sh’Ain Bo Ikar, on which no Brcha may be recited. (Eishel Avraham (Butshatsh) Siman 216 and 297)


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh
1) One whose nose is congested, or otherwise cannot smell, does not recite any Brachos over pleasant smelling items. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 297:5 and Mishna Berura S”K 13. See also Shu”t Radvaz Siman 2321 and Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 3 Siman 54. There are some opinions who allow one without a sense of smell to recite the Bracha, but that isn’t the way most Poskim rule. See Shu”t Shvus Yaakov Vol. 3 Siman 20 and Shu”t Halachos Ketanos Vol. 2 Siman183)
If one is unsure if he/she will be able to smell, it is permissible to take a small whiff, and upon determining that a smell can be detected, the Bracha recited. (See Ben Ish Chai Parshas V’Eschanan Siman 62, Kaf HaChaim 216:3 and   Sefer Brachos K’Hilchasan page 150 quoting Rav Chaim Kanievsky.)
2) Likewise, a person who can smell perfectly fine, yet isn’t sure if the flower/spice he/she wants to smell will have a scent, may take a small whiff to determine if a fragrance is present, and then recite the Bracha and continue smelling it. (Some Poskim only allow this on Motzei Shabbos when there is an obligation to smell something, but all other times say to refrain from smelling something unless you are sure it will smell and can recite a Bracha before smelling it. See Birchas HaBayis Siman 326:35)
If one recites the Bracha and intended to smell the flower/spice, and then upon smelling it found it to have no scent at all, “Boruch Sheim” should be recited.





1) One who has a variety of pleasant smelling items in front of him and wants to smell them all, must separate them into their proper categories and recite the proper Brachos on each category. (See Kaf HaChaim 216:19.)
If one recited a Borei Minei Besamim on all the things in front of him/her, B’dieved it is acceptable and no further Brachos should be recited. However, if the different varieties were all together in a container, and it is difficult to separate them, the Borei Minei Besamim may be recited on the entire mixture, L’Chatchila.(See Mishna Berura 216:39)
2) If one is in doubt as to the proper Bracha of any given item, Borei Minei Besamim may be recited L’Chatchila (Mishna Berura 216:13. This includes even someone who does not know which Bracha Halacha dictates to say, and not only a type of smell whose Bracha is hard to determine according to Halacha, unlike by food where a SheHakol may only be recited on foods whose status is a Halachic Safek, and not simply on foods that an individual doesn’t know its correct Bracha.  See Mishna Berura 297:1 and Aruch HaShulchan 216:5. See also Sefer V’Zos HaBracha Perek 19 quoting Dayan Yisroel Yaakov Fisher Zatzal)
Likewise, if one walks into a room filled with various types of pleasant smelling Besamim and smells the entire array of smells at once, Borei Minei Besamim should be recited L’Chatchilah on all of the smells combined. (Mishna Berura Siman 217:3)


1)One who has a few varieties of Besamim in front of him/her, must recite their respective Brachos in the order of their prominence (Chashivus), fruits, trees, grasses, other varieties as we will now expound.
The Bracha of “Hanosen Rayach Tov B’Peiros” takes precedence over all the other Brachos. (See Chayei Adam Klal 61:8 and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 58:9. See Kaf HaChaim 216:71 who maintains that “Atzei Besamim” goes before “Hanosen Rayach Tov”. See also Pri Megadim (Aishel Avraham) 216:19 where he rules like the Kaf HaChaim.)
2) The Brachos of “Borei Atzei Besamim” and “Borei Isvei Besamim” take precedence to “Borei Minei Besamim”
When one has a variety of “Atzei Besamim” and a variety of “Isvei Besamim”, the Bracha should first be recited on the variety that is more enjoyable to that individual.
If they are equally enjoyable, “Atzei Besamim” goes first. (Mishna Berura 216:40. The Kaf HaChaim 216:71 rules that “Atzei Besamim” takes precedence even if the grass is more enjoyable.)


1)One who recites a Bracha on a pleasant smelling item and puts it down with the intent of not smelling it anymore, and then wants to smell it again , must recite a new Bracha, as the intent to put it away is considered an interruption (Hesech Hada’as)
If, however, his/her intent was indeed to pick it up again soon and smell it again, no new Bracha will be required. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 217:1)
Even if he/she left the room, as long as there was intent to return shortly and smell it again, no new Bracha will be required. (Mishna Berura 217:6 and Sha’ar HaTzion 217:11 and 12)
2) If one was away for a long period of time, went to Shul to daven, went to work, or took a nap, a new Bracha will be required. (Mishna Berura ibid. see also Ketzos HaShulchan Siman 62:19)
Thus, on Yom Kippur when it is customary to smell Besamim in Shul throughout the day, only one Bracha is recited, and that Bracha will suffice for as long as one is in Shul.(See Mishna Berura  Siman 46:14 and Siman 612:18 . See also  Taz Siman 639:20 ,  Mateh Efraim Siman 622:3 and Elef L’mateh there S”K 2,  Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 133:20 and Shu”t Shevet HakeHasi Vol. 2 Siman 98 for more on this topic)
Purposely taking your mind off the Besamim, in order to obligate yourself to recite a new Bracha each time (as many people do on Yom Kippur in order to use the Bracha on Besamim as a way to reach the 100 Brachos needed daily, which is difficult to accomplish on Yom Kippur) should not be done, and is considered a Bracha Sh’Aina Tzericha, an unnecessary Bracha, and is forbidden. (Mishna Berura Siman 612:18. Parenthetically, See Sha’ar HaTzion 556:1 that on Tisha B’Av Besamim should not be smelled, as it is a pleasurable activity which is forbidden on Tisha B’Av)


1)On Motzei Shabbos by Havdalah, the proper procedure is as follows:
The wine should be held in the right hand and the Besamim in the left hand, and Borei Pri Hagafen recited.
Afterwards, the Besamim should be transferred to the right hand and the wine to the left hand, and the Bracha on the Besamim should be recited. [The Besamim should then be put down, and the Bracha on the fire should then be recited while holding up the fingernails to the fire].
The wine should then be returned to the right hand and the rest of the Havdalah text recited. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 296:6, Mishna Berura S”K 31 and Sha’ar HaTzion 28)

2) Even though we have been discussing over the past few weeks that different Besamim receive different Brachos, that is only for smelling during the week, and  not the case on Motzei Shabbos by Havdalah.
By Havdalah, all pleasant smelling things, regardless of their proper Bracha at other times, receive the Bracha “Borei Minei Besamim”, as not to confuse those who are not expert in differentiating between all the various Brachos required on different items.
L’Chatchilah, however, it is best to use something which indeed requires a “Borei Minei Besamim” even when smelled at other times. (See Mishna Berura Siman 297:1)


1) One who mistakenly recites “Shehakol Nihyeh B’dvaro” before smelling Besamim, according to some Poskim it will be acceptable B’Dieved.
Others maintain that “Shehakol” works only for food items, and thus even B’dieved it doesn’t work for fragrances and a new Bracha needs to be recited before continuing to smell. (See Mishna Berura 216:13 based on Tosefos Brachos 43a Dibur Hamaschil V’Al HaHadas)

Thus, due to the above dispute, if it happens, we invoke the Halachic rule of Safek Brachos L’hakel (whenever there is a question whether a Bracha should be recited or not , we opt to not say it, lest the name of Hashem be uttered in vain) and no additional Brachos are recited (See Kaf HaChaim 216:32) and it is best to refrain from continuing to smell the item.

2) If “Borei Minei Besamim” was recited before smelling Besamim which have a more individual Bracha (i.e. Atzei or Isvei Besamim) it is acceptable B’dieved. (Mishna Berura 216:12 and 39)
If “Borei Atzei Besamim” was recited before smelling a fruit whose correct Bracha is “Hanosen Rayach Tov B’Peiros” it is acceptable, as fruits grow from trees. (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 58:7)
If “Borei Atzei Besamim” was recited on something which requires a “Borei Isvei Besamim” or vice versa, it is not acceptable and  the proper Bracha should be recited, unless it is something which is the subject of a Halachic dispute as to which of the two  Brachos is its correct Bracha, in which case no new Bracha should be recited. (See Kaf HaChaim 216:20, Shu”t Halachos Ketanos Vol. 2 Siman 24 and Ben Ish Chai Parshas V’eschanan Siman 69)



1) The following is a list of some common, and some not so common, fragrant items , and their proper Brachos that must be recited, if any, before being smelled (Some were discussed already over the past few weeks, and some were not) :
Eucalyptus leaves or Eucalyptus oil: Borei Atzei Besamim
Esrog , any time except on Sukkos: Hanosen Rayach Tov B’Peiros
2) Perfume (made from synthetic ingredients): No Bracha is recited
Perfume (when one is positive it is made from natural ingredients):  Borei Minei Besamim (unless one is 100% sure that it is made from a particular flower or tree bark and not a mixture of plants etc., then its proper Bracha can be recited  Also, according to most Poskim this Bracha may only be recited when being smelled in the bottle and not when smelling it on a person. See Ohr L’Tzion Perek 14 Siman 38 and Shu”t Avnei Yashfe Vol. 2 Siman 16:2)
Deodorant: No Bracha, as it is meant tocover up or prevent a bad odor.Laundry Detergent: No Bracha, as the smell is synthetic.
List  with more items to be continued tomorrow B’Ezras Hashem…


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh
1) Continuation of specific fragrant items and their Brachos…
Hadasim (myrtle), any time except on Sukkos:  Borei Atzei Besamim
Rose: Borei Atzei Besamim (see Mishna Berura 216:17, Kaf HaChaim 216:38 and Shu”t Radvaz Siman 740)
Lilies, if grown in an orchard: Borei Atzei Besamim; if grown in a field: Borei Isvei Besamim
Tabak: The prevalent Minhag is that no Bracha is recited (See Be’er Heitev  216:13)
2) Jasmine: Borei Atzei Besamim (Shulchan Aruch 216:7)
Musk (a fragrance derived from animal glands/blood): Borei Minei Besamim (Mishna Berura 216:7)
Mint leaves:  Borei Isvei Besamim (See Kaf HaChaim 216:13)
Flowers that are in a vase or a planter, which are there for their beauty and not for their fragrance:  No Bracha unless they are specifically lifted to smell.





1) Cinnamon sticks:  The prevalent minhag is to recite Borei Minei Besamim (Although some Poskim rule to say Borei Atzei Besamim and other Poskim rule to say Hanosen Rayach Tov B’Peiros. See Kaf HaChaim 216:34, Sha’ar HaTzion 216:12 and Shu”t Radvaz Siman740.  Ground cinnamon, as well as any other spices, which are produced today for eating purposes, according to many Poskim does not require a Bracha when smelling it, and in fact it is best to refrain from smelling them in the first place. Thus, care must be taken to only use cinnamon at Havdalah if they are designated for smelling each week, and not simply taken from the spice rack where they are primarilyused for consumption. See Kaf HaChaim 216:39 and Seder Birchas Hanehenin Perek 11:9)
Cloves: Borei Minei Besamim
Pure Olive Oil: Borei Atzei Besamim (Mishna Berura 216:25)
Other Oils: Whichever Bracha would be made when smelling the plant from which it was pressed, is recited when smelling its oils.
2) Tea leaves: The prevalent Minhag is to treat tea as a spice, and it is best to refrain from smelling it, and if it is smelled no Bracha is recited. Wine: The prevalent Minhag is that no Bracha is recited

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