Some experts recommend that everyone test their own sense of smell once daily. This can help to screen for the novel coronavirus disease. This is because COVID often (but not always) takes away the victim's sense of smell.

My question

In accordance with the above advice, some members of my family are required to take a "smell test" before attending school each day. Are they required to make the berachah בורא מיני בשמים like when usually smelling nice things? Or is this considered a special case, and they wouldn't have to1?

  1. It happens to be that they use Besamim (from havdalah), but I don't think it would make a difference.

2 Answers 2


See Mishna Berurah 217.1 that if you enter a perfume shop, you have to make a berachah, because the perfumes were set there to be smelt by people who enter the shop, by the perfumerer.

However, if you enter a perfume warehouse, you need not make a berachah, because the perfumes were not set there with intention that they would be smelt.

Your case would appear comparable to the warehouse scenario, as the intention of the one providing the good smelling item is not that the one smelling it should enjoy the smell, and therefore no berachah should be made.


any thing that we enjoy on this world , we should evict the bad from it , and affect blessing on it before we enjoy it

in a way that אור מקיף נהפך לאור פנימי

and you bestow מוחין knowledge upon it from god, into the object , to sweeten it's mightiness into mercy

so smell is the only enjoyment the soul has on this physical world, in contrary to nefesh , which enjoy mainly from this world,

so we should bless first, also it's good after the smell blessing to say or intent the thought of the sentence:

אִשֵּׁ֥ה רֵֽיחַ־נִיח֖וֹחַ לַֽיהֹוָֽה

and visualize how the smell goes upward spiritually from the nose to the mind to the soul and upward (visualize the smell ,not god as he has no visualization nor body ,and he is totally abstract from our consciousness to comprehend)

אשה הכוונה


it's good to smell 3 times,

1 for nefesh/spiritual animation ,

1 for ruach/spirit ,

1 for soul

  • Do you have a source for this?
    – Dov
    Sep 7, 2020 at 7:59
  • On talmud brachot:. למדו כן מהפסוק "כָּל הַנְּשָׁמָה תְּהַלֵּל יָהּ", ודרשו חכמים: "אֵיזֶהוּ דָּבָר שֶׁהַנְּשָׁמָה נֶהֱנֵית מִמֶּנּוּ וְאֵין הַגּוּף נֶהֱנֶה מִמֶּנּוּ? הֶוֵי אוֹמֵר: זֶה הָרֵיחַ".. In addition shulhan aruch- orach haim: רי"ז-א, רט"ז-א
    – igal_ab47
    Sep 7, 2020 at 9:59
  • 1
    Great thank you. If you put the source in your answer you are more likely for people to score you.
    – Dov
    Sep 7, 2020 at 11:13
  • 1
    Note: We do NOT make a Bracha on all nice smells - e.g. snuff, or when the source of the smell is gone, or when you visit a pharmacy. All well documented in the Kitzur. (Siman 58:11, 12, 13) Sep 8, 2020 at 8:59

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