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Chapter 58: 1-3
The Blessing Recited over Fragrances

1. Just as it is forbidden to benefit from food and drink before one recites a blessing, it is similarly forbidden to benefit from pleasant fragrance before reciting a blessing.

[The above may be inferred from Psalms 150:6] "All souls will praise You." [Berochos 43b] teaches: "What does the soul benefit from and not the body? Fragrance."

Nevertheless, a b'rochoh achronoh is not required, because, in contrast to food which is digested, as soon as one ceases smelling the fragrance, one's pleasure ceases.

2. What blessings does one recite on pleasant fragrances?

If the source of the fragrance is a fruit which is fit to be eaten, whether it is a fruit which grows on a tree or one which grows on the ground, one recites the blessing:

[Boruch Attoh A-d-o-n-o-i E-l-o-h-e-i-n-u Melech ho'olom] asher nosein rie'ach tov bapeiros. (Blessed are You, G-d, our Lord, King of the Universe, Who grants sweet fragrance to fruit.)

Other authorities prefer the text: hanosein rei'ach tov bapeiors (the One Who grants sweet fragrance to fruit)."*

* {Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi (Piskei Siddur) and the Mishnoh B'rurah 216:9 prefer the former version.}

This applies even when the fruit is fit to be eaten only when mixed with other ingredients - e.g., nutmeg, lemon, or esrog (at times other than Sukkot, as will be explained in Chapter 137:7), for they are essentially food items.

This applies only when one takes the fruit with the intention of benefiting from its fragrance. However, if one takes it to eat it and smells it incidentally, there is no need to recite a blessing on its fragrance.

A person who smells roasted coffee with a pleasant fragrance recites the blessing: asher nosein rei'ach tov bapeiros.

3. If the source of the fragrance is a tree or product of a tree, one should recite the blessing: [Boruch attoh A-d-o-n-o-i E-l-o-h-e-i-n-u Melech ho'olom] borey atzei besomim. (Blessed are You, G-d, our Lord, King of the Universe, Who creates trees with fragrance).

Therefore, this blessing is recited for myrtle, roses, frankincense, and the like. Since they are primarily intended for their fragrance and not for eating, they are not considered fruit.

Some authorities maintain that this blessing should also be recited over pepper and ginger, while others say that no blessing is necessary. Hence, it is proper not to smell these substances.

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