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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Berachot - Chapter Nine

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Berachot - Chapter Nine

1

Just as it is forbidden to benefit from food or drink before reciting a blessing, so too, it is forbidden to benefit from a pleasant fragrance before reciting a blessing.

What blessings should be recited over pleasant fragrance? If the fragrant substance is a tree or the product of a tree, one should recite the blessing "[Blessed...] who created fragrant trees." If the fragrant substance is an herb or the product of an herb, one should recite the blessing "[Blessed...] who created fragrant herbs."

If it is not from a tree or an herb - e.g., musk, which comes from an animal - one should recite the blessing "[Blessed...] who created various kinds of spices." If it is a fruit that is fit to eat - e.g., an etrog or an apple - one should recite the blessing "[Blessed...] who endowed fruits with pleasant fragrance."

Should one recite the blessing "[Blessed...] who created various kinds of spices," on any fragrance, one fulfills one's obligation.

א

כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאָסוּר לָאָדָם לֵהָנוֹת בְּמַאֲכָל אוֹ בְּמַשְׁקֶה קֹדֶם בְּרָכָה. כָּךְ אָסוּר לוֹ לֵהָנוֹת בְּרֵיחַ טוֹב קֹדֶם בְּרָכָה. וְכֵיצַד מְבָרֵךְ עַל רֵיחַ טוֹב. אִם הָיָה זֶה שֶׁיֵּשׁ לְהָרִיחַ עֵץ אוֹ מִין עֵץ מְבָרֵךְ בּוֹרֵא עֲצֵי בְּשָׂמִים. וְאִם הָיָה עֵשֶׂב אוֹ מִין עֵשֶׂב מְבָרֵךְ בּוֹרֵא עִשְׂבֵי בְּשָׂמִים. וְאִם לֹא הָיָה מִן הָעֵץ וְלֹא מִן הָאֲדָמָה כְּגוֹן הַמּוֹר שֶׁהוּא מִן הַחַיָּה מְבָרֵךְ בּוֹרֵא מִינֵי בְּשָׂמִים. וְאִם הָיָה פְּרִי הָרָאוּי לַאֲכִילָה כְּגוֹן אֶתְרוֹג אוֹ תַּפּוּחַ מְבָרֵךְ שֶׁנָּתַן רֵיחַ טוֹב בַּפֵּרוֹת. וְעַל הַכּל אִם אָמַר בּוֹרֵא מִינֵי בְּשָׂמִים יָצָא:

2

A blessing should not be recited on incense until a cloud of smoke rises up.

What blessing should be recited over it? If the incense comes from a tree, one should recite the blessing "[Blessed...] who created fragrant trees." If it comes from an herb, [one should recite] "... who created fragrant herbs." If it came from an animal or the like, [one should recite] "... who created various kinds of spices."

ב

אֵין מְבָרְכִין עַל הַמֻּגְמָר עַד שֶׁתַּעֲלֶה תִּמְרָתוֹ. וְכֵיצַד מְבָרְכִין עָלָיו. אִם הָיָה זֶה הַנִּשְׂרָף שֶׁנָּתַן רֵיחַ מֵעֵץ מְבָרְכִין בּוֹרֵא עֲצֵי בְּשָׂמִים. וְאִם הָיָה עֵשֶׂב עִשְׂבֵי בְּשָׂמִים. וְאִם הָיָה מִמִּין חַיָּה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהּ מְבָרֵךְ עָלָיו בּוֹרֵא מִינֵי בְּשָׂמִים:

3

Balsam oil and the like require the blessing "... who created pleasant oil." If, however, one pressed or soaked olives until they produced oil with a pleasant fragrance, one should recite the blessing "...who created fragrant trees." Oil in which spices were mixed, as was done for the anointing oil, requires the blessing "...who created various kinds of spices."

If one brought both oil and a myrtle to a person, he should recite the blessing on the myrtle and include the oil, because the same blessing, "...who created fragrant trees," applies to both of them.

ג

שֶׁמֶן שֶׁל אֲפַרְסְמוֹן וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ מְבָרֵךְ עָלָיו בּוֹרֵא שֶׁמֶן עָרֵב. אֲבָל שֶׁמֶן זַיִת שֶׁכְּבָשׁוֹ אוֹ שֶׁטְּחָנוֹ עַד שֶׁחָזַר רֵיחוֹ נוֹדֵף מְבָרֵךְ עָלָיו בּוֹרֵא עֲצֵי בְּשָׂמִים. שֶׁמֶן שֶׁבִּשְׁמוֹ כְּעֵין שֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה מְבָרֵךְ עָלָיו בּוֹרֵא מִינֵי בְּשָׂמִים. הֵבִיאוּ לְפָנָיו שֶׁמֶן וַהֲדַס מְבָרֵךְ עַל הַהֲדַס וּפוֹטֵר אֶת הַשֶּׁמֶן מִפְּנֵי שֶׁבְּרָכָה אַחַת לִשְׁתֵּיהֶן וְהוּא עֲצֵי בְּשָׂמִים:

4

When one has both a fragrant spice from a tree and a fragrant spice from an herb, a single blessing should not be recited to include both of them. Rather, a blessing should be recited for each one individually.

When wine and fragrant oil are brought before a person, he should hold the wine in his right hand and the oil in his left hand, recite the blessing over the wine and drink it, and then recite the blessing over the oil, smell it, and then, spread it on the attendant's head. If the attendant is a Torah scholar, he should spread it on the wall.

ד

הָיוּ לְפָנָיו בּשֶֹׁם שֶׁהוּא עֵץ וּבשֶֹׁם שֶׁהוּא עֵשֶׂב אֵין בְּרָכָה אַחַת מֵהֶן פּוֹטֶרֶת אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ. אֶלָּא מְבָרֵךְ עַל זֶה לְעַצְמוֹ וְעַל זֶה לְעַצְמוֹ. הֵבִיאוּ לְפָנָיו יַיִן וְשֶׁמֶן אוֹחֵז יַיִן בִּימִינוֹ וְשֶׁמֶן בִּשְׂמֹאלוֹ וּמְבָרֵךְ עַל הַיַּיִן וְשׁוֹתֵהוּ וְחוֹזֵר וּמְבָרֵךְ עַל הַשֶּׁמֶן וּמֵרִיחַ בּוֹ וְטָחוֹ בְּרֹאשׁ הַשַּׁמָּשׁ. וְאִם הָיָה הַשַּׁמָּשׁ תַּלְמִיד חָכָם טָחוֹ בַּכֹּתֶל:

5

If there is a doubt whether a spice requires the blessing "...who created fragrant trees" or the blessing "...who created fragrant herbs," one should recite the blessing "...who created various kinds of spices." Similarly, one should recite the blessing "...who created various kinds of spices" over a mixture of spices prepared by a perfumer.

When a person enters a perfumery, he should recite the blessing "...who created various kinds of spices." If he spends the entire day there, he should recite only one blessing. If he enters and leaves several times, he should recite a blessing each time he enters.

ה

דָּבָר שֶׁהוּא סָפֵק אִם מִן הָעֵץ אִם מִן הָאֲדָמָה מְבָרֵךְ עָלָיו בּוֹרֵא מִינֵי בְּשָׂמִים. בּשֶֹׁם שֶׁעֵרְבוֹ הָרוֹכֵל מִמִּינִין הַרְבֵּה מְבָרֵךְ עָלָיו בּוֹרֵא מִינֵי בְּשָׂמִים. נִכְנָס לַחֲנוּתוֹ שֶׁל בּוֹשֵׂם שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ מִינִין הַרְבֵּה מְבָרֵךְ עָלָיו בּוֹרֵא מִינֵי בְּשָׂמִים. אִם יָשַׁב שָׁם כָּל הַיּוֹם כֻּלּוֹ אֵינוֹ מְבָרֵךְ אֶלָּא אַחַת. נִכְנַס וְיָצָא נִכְנַס וְיָצָא מְבָרֵךְ עַל כָּל פַּעַם וּפַעַם:

6

Anemones and lavender require the blessing "...who created fragrant trees." Lilies that are raised in a garden require the blessing "...who created fragrant trees"; those that grow in the field require the blessing "...who created fragrant herbs."

Roses, rose water, frankincense, and rock roses require the blessing "...who created fragrant trees."

ו

הַשּׁוֹשַׁנָּה וַחֲלָפֵי הַמַּיִם מְבָרְכִין עֲלֵיהֶן בּוֹרֵא עֲצֵי בְּשָׂמִים. נַרְגִּיס שֶׁל גִּנָּה בּוֹרֵא עֲצֵי בְּשָׂמִים וְשֶׁל שָׂדֶה בּוֹרֵא עִשְׂבֵי בְּשָׂמִים. הַוֶּרֶד וּמֵי הַוֶּרֶד וְהַלְּבוֹנָה וְהַמַּסְטְכִי וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן בּוֹרֵא עֲצֵי בְּשָׂמִים:

7

There are types of pleasant fragrances over which blessings should not be recited: a pleasant fragrance that is forbidden, a pleasant fragrance used as a deodorant, and a pleasant fragrance that was not prepared with the intent that it be smelled itself.

ז

שְׁלֹשָׁה מִינֵי רֵיחַ טוֹב אֵין מְבָרְכִין עֲלֵיהֶן וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. רֵיחַ טוֹב שֶׁאָסוּר לְהָרִיחַ בּוֹ. וְרֵיחַ טוֹב שֶׁעָשׂוּי לְהַעֲבִיר רֵיחַ רַע. וְרֵיחַ טוֹב שֶׁלֹּא נַעֲשָׂה לְהָרִיחַ בְּעַצְמוֹ שֶׁל רֵיחַ זֶה:

8

What is implied? One should not recite a blessing over perfumes of false gods or over perfumes of women with whom sexual relations are forbidden, because it is forbidden to smell them.

Blessings should not be recited over perfumes placed by the dead, perfumes placed in toilets, or an oil used to remove filth, because they are intended to remove a foul odor.

A blessing is not recited when incense is burned to perfume utensils or clothes, because the incense was not prepared with the intent that it be smelled itself. Similarly, a blessing should not be recited on clothes that were perfumed in this manner, because the fragrant substance itself is not present; there is merely a fragrance without any substance.

ח

כֵּיצַד. בְּשָׂמִים שֶׁל עַכּוּ״ם וּבְשָׂמִים שֶׁל עֶרְוָה מִן הָעֲרָיוֹת אֵין מְבָרְכִין עֲלֵיהֶן לְפִי שֶׁאָסוּר לְהָרִיחַ בָּהֶן. בְּשָׂמִים שֶׁל מֵתִים וּבְשָׂמִים שֶׁל בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא וְשֶׁמֶן הֶעָשׂוּי לְהַעֲבִיר אֶת הַזֻּהֲמָא אֵין מְבָרְכִין עֲלֵיהֶן לְפִי שֶׁנַּעֲשׂוּ לְהַעֲבִיר רֵיחַ רַע. מֻגְמָר שֶׁמְּגַמְּרִין בּוֹ אֶת הַכֵּלִים וְאֶת הַבְּגָדִים אֵין מְבָרְכִין עֲלֵיהֶן לְפִי שֶׁלֹּא נַעֲשָׂה לְהָרִיחַ בְּעַצְמוֹ שֶׁל מֻגְמָר. וְכֵן הַמֵּרִיחַ בִּבְגָדִים שֶׁהֵן מְגֻמָּרִים אֵינוֹ מְבָרֵךְ לְפִי שֶׁאֵין שָׁם עִקָּר בּשֶֹׁם אֶלָּא רֵיחַ בְּלֹא עִקָּר:

9

A blessing should not be recited on spices used at a gentile party, because we assume that a gentile party is dedicated to idol worship.

[The following rules apply when] a person smelled a pleasant fragrance while walking outside a city: If the majority of the city are gentiles, he should not recite a blessing. If the majority of the city are Jewish, he should. If a fragrance for which a blessing should be recited becomes mixed with a fragrance for which a blessing should not be recited, the ruling depends on the majority.

ט

בְּשָׂמִים שֶׁל מְסִבָּה שֶׁל עַכּוּ״ם אֵין מְבָרְכִין עֲלֵיהֶם שֶׁסְּתָם מְסִבַּת עַכּוּ״ם לַעֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים. הָיָה מְהַלֵּךְ חוּץ לַכְּרַךְ וְהֵרִיחַ רֵיחַ טוֹב. אִם רֹב הָעִיר עַכּוּ״ם אֵינוֹ מְבָרֵךְ. וְאִם רֹב יִשְׂרָאֵל מְבָרֵךְ. נִתְעָרֵב רֵיחַ שֶׁמְּבָרְכִין עָלָיו בְּרֵיח שֶׁאֵין מְבָרְכִין עָלָיו הוֹלְכִין אַחֲרֵי הָרֹב:

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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