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Why do we smell fragrant spices during the havdallah ceremony?

Why do we smell fragrant spices during the havdallah ceremony?

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At the conclusion of every Sabbath, during the havdallah ceremony, we sniff at aromatic herbs or spices (whole cloves are very popular). When the spiritual Sabbath leaves and another mundane work-week arrives, it is necessary to resuscitate ourselves by smelling a pleasant fragrance.

Rabbi Silberberg resides in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife Chaya Mushka and their three children.
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Discussion (4)
February 7, 2013
re: havdalah
I am not a Rabbi, but I believe the reason for opening and closing hands is because the blessing on the fire is meant to be about benefiting from the fire and not the existence of the fire itself. Similarly, it is smelling the bsamim - i.e. the benefit of the fragrance - to which we are blessing in thanks to G-d. The gestures with the fire are meant to be some use of the fire such as using the fire's light to inspect your handing (or to use it for warmth?). I know some families that turn out the lights in the room when reciting this blessing so they can use the light of the flame in order to read the blessing in the prayer book.

While the bsamim is a form of resuscitation after transferring from the spiritual to the mundane - I believe the fire is the actual symbol of the change as fire was forbidden on the Sabbath but now we are lighting and benefiting from a flame - signifying the Sabbath has ended.

Hope it helps.
Aaron
Israel
January 26, 2013
Aromatic herbs
Are there any other times when there it is necessary to sniff herbs, and are there any reasons why cloves are uses more than others
Is this in the Talmud or Torah?
Misty
January 31, 2011
To Sarah:
Naftali Silberberg (author)
January 27, 2011
havdalah
I'm a teacher, why do we smell Besamim and close our hand and open in front the fire in the Havdalah ceremony?

thank you
sarah
ny, usa
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