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Chapter 58: 4-6
The Blessing Recited over Fragrances

4. On fragrant grasses and vegetables, one should recite the blessing: [Boruch Attoh A-d-o-n-o-i E-l-o-h-e-i-n-u Melech ho'olom] borey isvei besomim. (Blessed are You, G-d, our Lord, King of the Universe, Who creates grasses with fragrance.) ( The "Ayin" is pronounced with a chirik [.] and the "Beis" has no dot, [and is thus, pronounced as a "v,"] because the chirik [.] is a short vowel.)

In this context, one may distinguish between a tree and a vegetable as follows. The category "trees" includes any plant: a) whose stem is as firm as the stem of flax, b) which remains throughout the entire year, and c) produces leaves.

Those with soft stems require the blessing isvei besomim.*

* {Most flowers are included in this category. The Mishna B'rurah 216, Bi'ur Halacha raises questions about the blessing appropriate for a plant with a firm stem that does remain throughout the year.}

5. A substance which is neither a product of a tree nor an herb - e.g., musk - requires the blessing: [Boruch Attoh A-d-o-n-o-i E-l-o-h-e-i-n-u Melech ho'olom] borey minei besomim. (Blessed are You, G-d, our Lord, King of the Universe, Who creates various types of fragrance.)

It appears to me that his blessing is also recited when one smells dried mushrooms that have a pleasant fragrance.

6. A special blessing was instituted for balsam oil which is produced in Eretz Yisroel, because of the prominence of the fact that it grows in Eretz Yisroel. One recites the blessing: [Boruch Attoh A-d-o-n-o-i E-l-o-h-e-i-n-u Melech ho'olom] borey shemen orev. (Blessed are You, G-d, our Lord, King of the Universe, Who creates pleasant oil.)

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