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Besamim 4 – Cinnamon (Klal 8 Siman 25) Hilchos Shabbos – S0246

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D'var Halacha
Besamim 4 - Cinnamon (Klal 8 Siman 25) Hilchos Shabbos - S0246
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We are continuing in siman 25, discussing the besamim for havdalah. A common question which arises is when a group of people are reciting havdalah together, and they wish to pass around additional besamim which are not designated as besamim but were taken from the kitchen or the like. One of the halachos of besamim is that the besamim have to be designated for the purpose of smell. For example, if a person walks into a perfumery, they will find closed bottles and open bottles of perfumes. If the open bottles are designated for sampling or creating a good smell throughout the store, so a bracha can be made on them. The closed bottles are not designated for smell but as merchandise. Therefore, even if one could smell them through the closure, one would not make a bracha on those smells. The same is true about the factory where they are produced.

The besamim which are in the kitchen are designated for food, not for smell. Therefore, it would follow that one cannot make a bracha on them. However, the Mishnah Berurah writes that if one walks into the house and the cinnamon container is open, they would not make a bracha, but if they pick it up in order to smell it, at that moment, they change its function from being a food spice to besamim. Therefore, one can make a bracha on it.

However, the Chazon Ish disagrees. He holds that the fact that one picks up the spice is not sufficient, since they will be putting it back down and continue using it as a food spice. One could take a small amount and designate it as besamim, and then discard it after making havdalah. 

 

Regarding the bracha on cinnamon, the minhag for havdalah is to say borei minei besamim. Regarding the actual bracha, the Rosh holds it is hanosein reiach tov bapeiros, which proves that the word “peiros” in the bracha is not specifically referring to fruits, but any product of the tree. The Maharam MiRottenburg disagreed, and held the bracha is borei atzei besamim. One would make the bracha of borei minei besamim to avoid the safeik, as we have discussed. Therefore, it is preferable not to use cinnamon on Motzei Shabbos, because it gets involved in this safeik. It is more preferable to use an item which is certainly borei minei besamim, in order to fulfill the minhag and to avoid any halachic questions.

 

Summary

  • One can only make a bracha on besamim which are designated for smelling.
  • The Mishnah Berurah holds one can designate something temporarily for smelling and then return it to its original function. The Chazon Ish disagrees
  • One should make borei minei besamim on cinnamon out of safeik.

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