Ask the Rabbi

  • Halacha
  • Is a Bracha Required in Various Situations?



Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Iyyar 24, 5780
Dear Rabbi, Thank you so much for this answer on Besamim, I have a question that I want to clarify based on your answer; if we have an essential oil diffuser at home, and someone else (not me) turns it on before I get up, am I required to ask them for the reason they turned on the essential oil diffuser before making a bracha? Sometimes, my mother uses it to take away bad odours, which seems to qualify it under a room deodorizer. Other times, she turns it on as a practical aid to help a sick or allergic family member breathe better. And other times she does it just for the sake of smelling good. Must I always try to find the initial reason before I recite a bracha? And if I turn it on, must I have in mind exactly what for, and then decide whether or not to make a bracha? Lastly, if reciting a bracha, must one get very close to the diffuser or is smelling it in the room good for making the bracha? Thank you again so much!!!
ב"ה Shalom, Looking into the Chazon Ish (orach Chaim 35:2 ) which Rav Kaganoff quoted in his detailed answer, it is you who determines what you want the smell for. For the Chazon Ish writes that even if the person's intent is to enjoy the fragrance of a certain thing even though it was made only as a deodorizer then this person makes a Bracha. However, there is another aspect which needs to be addressed, which Rav Kaganoff also related to in his answer, and that is the composition of the oils. Meaning, if the aroma coming from these oils is synthetically produced there are some Rabbis who say that a Bracha should not be recited on them. There are those who disagree. Therefore, in order to avoid making a Bracha which is in question, Rav Kaganoff suggested to make a Bracha on something which surely requires a Borei Minei Besamim and have the chemically made fragrance in mind. \ All the best
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