We have finished siman 2 and have a few points to clarify. The Chayei Adam wrote that the correct text of the bracha for good smelling fruits is asher nosan reiach tov bapeiros, in past tense. Many siddurim have the text hanosein reiach tov bapeiros, in the present tense. The Chayei Adam, Mishnah Berurah and Shulchan Aruch Harav hold that one should recite the bracha in the past tense. However, the Derech Hachayim and Aruch Hashulchan hold one should recite the bracha in the present tense. One is yotzei with either text bedieved.
We learned (shiur 1173) that, according to the Mishnah Berurah, the bracha of asher nosan reiach tov bapeiros is only recited on an item whose primary purpose is for smelling, or which is currently being picked up for the purpose of smelling. Thus, if one has a spice whose primary purpose is for food preparation, and picks it up for the purpose of smell, they would make a bracha on it. Therefore, one can use any spice for havdalah as long as they pick it up for the purpose of smelling.
However, the Chazon Ish understands that the Gra held that an item primarily used for another purpose does not receive a bracha on its smell, even when it is picked up specifically for the purpose of smelling. Therefore, they hold that one must have a spice specifically set aside for havdalah.
In siman 3, the Chayei Adam writes that there is a machlokes regarding the bracha on cinnamon. On the one hand, It is an edible food item, so it should receive the bracha of asher nosan reiach tov bapeiros. On the other hand, many poskim write that cinnamon used to be eaten in a mixture for the primary purpose of cinnamon, by grinding cinnamon with a little sugar. Nowadays, cinnamon is not eaten as a primary food, but as a garnish or spice to another food. Therefore, these poskim hold it is no longer given the bracha for food, but borei minei besamim. The Chayei Adam does not pasken which bracha one should recite. Contemporary poskim write that we clearly do not eat cinnamon as a primary food, so the bracha is borei minei besamim.
- The correct text of the bracha is asher nosan reiach tov bapeiros, in past tense. If one recites the bracha in the present tense, they are yotzei.
- According to the Mishnah Berurah, the bracha of asher nosan reiach tov bapeiros is recited on a fruit when its primary function, at that moment, is smell. However, the Chazon Ish held that the bracha is only recited on an item which is only used for smell.
- Therefore, one should try to have a spice specifically set aside for havdalah. If they do not have one, they can still make the bracha.
- If one wishes to smell cinnamon, the bracha they should make is borei minei besamim.