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1192 – Birchas Hareiach – (Klal 61 Siman 15) – Bracha on Smell 22 – Mugmar (Incense)

D'var Halacha
D'var Halacha
1192 - Birchas Hareiach - (Klal 61 Siman 15) - Bracha on Smell 22 - Mugmar (Incense)
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 We are beginning siman 15. The Chayei Adam discusses mugmar, good-smelling incense burned over coals. Mugmar was used for different purposes. Sometimes it was used for the purpose of creating a good smell, in which case one would make a bracha. Sometimes it was used to impart a good smell into clothing, in which case one would not make a bracha (as we learned previously in shiur 1184).  

The Chayei Adam writes that the correct time to make the bracha on a mugmar is when the coals begin producing smoke. We know that the most appropriate time to make a bracha is before one receives the benefit. Once the coals have begun to produce smoke, we can assume the incense has begun to give off a smell, so one should make a bracha at that point and then smell the mugmar

One should not make the bracha before the coals have begun to produce smoke, as the mugmar is not yet ready to be smelled. Making the bracha before the coals have begun to produce smoke would be akin to making a bracha haeitz when opening the refrigerator door in search of an apple.

The bracha one will make on the mugmar will depend on its contents. If it is made of an item considered an eitz, the bracha will be borei atzei besamim. If it is made of an item considered an eisev, the bracha will be borei isvei besamim, and so on (see shiur 1175, 1177).

If the mugmar is functioning to neutralize a bad smell, one does not make a bracha, as we learned in the previous shiur (1191) regarding air freshener.

If the mugmar has burned down to the point that the original incense no longer exists, but the smell is still extant, there is a machlokes poskim whether we consider the smell reiach she’ein bo ikar or reiach she’yeish bo ikar. Due to the machlokes, one would not make a bracha.

Summary

  • One makes a bracha on mugmar if it is being used for the purpose of creating a good smell. If its function is to neutralize a bad smell, or to impart smell into an item, no bracha is made.
    • If the mugmar has burned down to the point that the original incense no longer exists, but the smell is still extant, no bracha is made.
  • The correct time to make the bracha on a mugmar is when the coals begin producing smoke.

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