Havdala When You Can’t Smell the Besomim

Provided by Harav Moshe Hamburger, Lakewood Bais Hora’ah.

As more people around the world are becoming infected by the new coronavirus, there has been a spike in people reporting a loss of smell.

If you are one of them and wondering how would you make the Bracha on the Besomim this coming Motzei Shabbos, please read on.

The Halacha is that one that lost the ability to smell should not make a Bracha on Besomim. But there are three scenarios that can change the the way you would make Havdala this week.

If there are no household members that can smell, don’t make a Bracha on the Besomim(1). (Just skip it, the rest of the Havdala is the same.)

If there are other members of the household that are over Bar/Bas Mitzva, and did not lose the sense of smell, let them make the Bracha on the Besomim, since you can’t be Motzie them(2). In this case make sure not to say Amen on their Bracha(3). (Since that would be a Hefsek between your Hagafen and the drinking of the wine.)

If the only one that did not lose the sense of smell is a child under Bar/Bas Mitzva, but old enough to understand the need for Havdala, (which is around the age of 7), you should make the Bracha to be Motzie the child(4).

1 שוע אוח סימן רצז סה

2 משנה ברורה שם סק יג

3 עיין בשערי תשובה קסז סק יא

4 שוע אוח סימן רצז סה

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  1. There is an interesting Teshuva from the Shvus Yaakov in which he contemplates that one should maybe make a bracha in this scenario, because the smell of besomim gives a person spiritual pleasure even if his physical body cannot sense it. He does conclude like the above, though, that one should not in practice make a bracha.

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