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The Shulchan Aruch rules in OC 216:4 that there is a special blessing to say upon smelling "Afarsimon" oil. (The blessing is ברוך אתה ה' אלוקינו מלך העולם בּוֹרֵא שֶמֶן עָרֵב) The Mishna Berura there, quoting a number of Rishonim, explains that this is the ingredient of the Ketoret (incense burned in the Temple) known as Tzori which is likely the resin of Commiphora gileadensis.

Where can I get this substance?

Note: I found this product at the Temple Institute's gift shop. Is this the appropriate oil? Additionally, it is rather expensive. Maybe if someone can find just the correct oil for sale somewhere it will be at a more reasonable price.

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yeshiva.org.il/wiki/… –  Double AA May 14 '13 at 4:41
    
You can buy all sorts of obscure products on Ebay. After you do your search, click the "Worldwide" radio button to broaden your search. I haven't tried searching Ebay for this. But have you? What search keywords did you try? Did you find the oil you seek? –  unforgettableid Jul 4 '13 at 22:32
    
1000 points in reward bounties for information that leads to my successful acquisition of the oil. –  Double AA Jul 5 '13 at 7:09
    
The Living Torah Museum which was founded and operated by Shaul Shimon Deutsch carries Shemen Afarsimon. I do not know how much they charge. It is located at 1601 41st street in Brooklyn, New York. Phone: (718) 851-3215 –  Gershon Gold Jul 5 '13 at 14:46
    
@GershonGold, I'm pretty sure I remember seeing the same set of 11 Ketoret samples for sale at the Living Torah Museum that DoubleAA mentioned. –  Isaac Moses Jul 5 '13 at 15:10

1 Answer 1

I found this "Ultra Regeneration Serum" via Amazon. It costs $83.99 per bottle and claims to contain "Commiphora Gileadensis Bud Extract- (Balm of Gilead)." However, its description mentions "Balm of Gilead from the balsam poplar tree," and the balsam poplar tree is Populus balsamifera, which is a North American species and distinct from the Middle Eastern Commiphora gileadensis.

So, it'd probably be worth verifying that there is actual C. giledensis content, as I suspect that a similar extract from a different species wouldn't qualify Halachically. You could contact the person behind it, Ettia Tal, an Israeli holistic healer presently in New York. I expect that she'd be able to verify the exact contents of her product, and she may even be willing to help you source the raw ingredient you want.


A wholesaler of raw materials for cosmetics and the like called Active Organics lists "Balm Gilead" for sale in their line of "Actiphytes." The information sheet for this product specifies that it is "Commiphora Gileadensis (Balm of Gilead) Extract and lists the Latin name "Commiphora gileadnesis." However, under "Other common names," it also lists "Populus candicans," a synonym for the North American species mentioned above. So, again, it's probably worth verifying the actual species.

This company doesn't seem to list prices online, but it does specify that the minimum order for these ingredients is 4 kilos, which is probably way more than you need. They do mention the possibility of obtaining a sample (presumably primarily for companies that are considering a wholesale purchase), so it may be worthwhile contacting one of their sales representatives to see if they'll provide a tiny sample for personal religious use.

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