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A few miscellaneous questions


Rabbi David Sperling

Shevat 26, 5781
Hi, I have a few random questions if that’s ok; A) I was given beautiful beeswax candles to put on my desk. Every time I go near my desk I smell this gorgeous honey aroma from them. Do I make a bracha on beeswax, since I enjoy it? And if so, which one? (The beeswax is real, and next to it I have a candle that is mixed with synthetic materials. It too, even when not lit, emits a beautiful rose fragrance. This second candle combines natural and synthetic fragrance oils. Do I make a bracha on this, and if so which bracha?) B) our kitchen is not kosher, but I’m trying to bless on food whenever it happens that it is kosher. My mother takes cucumbers, peels them with a peeler (that has peeled a lot of things, but I doubt it ever touched meat or dairy...) and then soaks the sliced peeled cucumbers in a container, with water, baking soda and salt. Is this kind of preparation counting as the food is natural and cold (uncooked) and so requires the bracha of haadama, or does the soaking (in cold water but still...) along with the baking soda and salt and the peeler make it questionable if I can make a bracha on it? (For example, does the baking soda have to be kosher....? Since the soaking makes them soft does it count as them becoming in kosher by the keili etc.?) C) I make lots of art, and I would like to make some mugs and signs for the house with Hebrew writing on them. But I’m concerned since I know that Hebrew is a Holy tongue, is it disrespectful to the language to use it on regular home objects? They are meant to uplift (for example, a Jewish quote) but the objects are ‘regular objects and not Torah or study ones. Is there anything wrong with making this for myself or for friends? My parents have even recommended I sell them because the designs are nice....Is there anything not good about trying to do this? Is it disrespectful? Thank you so much,
Shalom, Thank you for your question. a) Once every time you go to the candles to smell it, you should say the blessing “borie minay be’samim” (as we say in havdallah). This blessing will suffice until you make a clear break – such as leaving the house. Then a new blessing will be needed. b) You may say the blessing on the cucumber. c) There is no problem of putting Hebrew writing on your art objects. (Here in Israel every label on every product is in Hebrew!). You should refrain from writing holy texts, prayers etc. And certainly be careful not to use G-d’s name. d) You may sell such items, to Jew and Gentile alike. Blessings.
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