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Per this answer, the one making havdalah must benefit from the light. How does a blind person make havdalah, assuming there is not another Jew present to do it for him? Does he omit the blessing over the fire, or does he make the blessing and light the candle even though he can't see it?

This question addresses the blind lighting Chanukah candles, but with Chanukah there is another reason to light (to publicize the miracle), which doesn't apply to havdalah.

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  • Parallel anecdote: I know a guy who has no sense of smell. As a result, he cannot make the blessing over the spices and instead takes part in someone else's Havdala.
    – Isaac Moses
    Feb 6 '12 at 14:45
  • @IsaacMoses y can't he just make havdalah without besamim? neither the candle nor the besamim are me'akev.
    – Ariel K
    Feb 6 '12 at 19:07
  • @ArielK, I'm not sure exactly what he chooses to do in every situation. However, by taking part in someone else's Havdala, he gets to take part in the blessing on the spices, which he wouldn't otherwise. Also, if he's in a family/group that will all rely on one Havdala, the only way for the others to partake in the spices blessing is for one of the others to make it.
    – Isaac Moses
    Feb 6 '12 at 19:18
  • Isn't there an idea discussed somewhere that a blind man carries a torch when he goes out at night, not so that he could see, but that other people would help him?
    – Menachem
    Feb 8 '12 at 1:08
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    @Menachem Megillah 24 regarding the bracha of Yozer Or
    – Double AA
    Mar 20 '13 at 2:46
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A blind person cannot make the b'racha of borei m'orei ha'esh on the flame. (Shulchan Aruch OC 298:13) However, he certainly may recite the rest of havdala. (Mishna B'rura 298:34)

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    So does he not use a flame at all, or does he simply not say the Berachah? And if there are others there, should they say the Berachah themselves? Should he say it for them?
    – Seth J
    Feb 6 '12 at 17:28
  • @SethJ, See Mishna B'rura there who cites P'ri Megadim as being inconclusive whether or not he can be yotzei others by saying the b'racha for them. And regarding your first question, why have a flame at all if not to say the b'racha on it?
    – jake
    Feb 6 '12 at 17:37
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The halachic sources say that one needs to see the flame, but it's worth pointing out that it's not a blessing of enjoyment on seeing something, but rather an appreciation of the creation of fire. That's why it's only properly said on Motzaei Shabbat. There's a source in Pirkei d'Rabbi Eliezer, not brought down in halacha, that disconnects the blessing from flames, and possibly also from seeing.

ואם אין לו אש פושט ידו לאור הכוכבים, שהן של אש, ויסתכל בצפרניו שהן לבנות מן הגוף, ואומר ברוך מאורי האש. ואם נתקדרו השמים, תולה אבן מן הארץ ומבדיל ואומר ברוך המבדיל בין קודש לחול.‏

[If he be on a journey,] he puts forth his hand to the light of the stars, which are also fire, and says: Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who creates the various flames of fire. If the heavens be darkened, he lifts up a stone outside, and says: Blessed [art Thou, O Lord our God,] who separates between the sacred and the profane.

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  • The translation unfortunately doesn't match the Hebrew text. Nov 22 '20 at 11:20

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