Based on this question and the ensuant discussion, I would like to know if a person makes a blessing upon anointing himself for pleasure. If not, why not?

  • The Talmud (Menachot 36a) rules one says a Bracha if anointing between prayers, though it doesn't view such a practice as good one. – Double AA Nov 19 '13 at 20:41
  • The above comment is Purim Torah, in case anyone didn't catch that. – Fred Dec 25 '13 at 20:51
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    *...is excellent Purim Torah... – Double AA Jan 20 '14 at 2:00

Rabbbi Michael Taubes in a YU shiur “Berachot on Worldly Pleasures” quotes the Ramban (Chidushei HaRamban to Berachot Chapter 8, s.v. nireh li) who writes that the benefit has to be from something which enters into the body; this is why no berachah, he says, is recited over things like a cool, refreshing shower, a nice hot bath or a pleasant breeze, even though one certainly enjoys these things.

I imagine that oil for anointing is not considered to “enter the body” and that is why no blessing is recited.

(Please read the shiur. The blessing on the light of a fire, which hopefully does not enter the body, is only because of motzoei shabbos or yom kippur.)

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    +1, though not everyone agrees with the Ramban. For example, R' Eliezer HaGadol (and likely other rishonim such as the Rambam, depending on your interpretation) holds that the blessing on clothing in ברכות השחר is a ברכת הנהנין. For another example, R' Ya'akov Emden writes that hamapil exempts one from a theoretical obligation to recite a birkas hanehenin on tashmish hamita. – Fred Nov 17 '13 at 22:05
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    The pasuk from which we learn the prohibition of סיכה is ותבא כמים בקרבו וכשמן בעצמותיו, which sounds like it is entering the body... – wfb Nov 17 '13 at 22:54
  • @wfb See this comment. – Fred Nov 17 '13 at 23:14
  • The quote from the Ramban is: "נ"ל דברכת האור אינה ברכת הנהנין, דא"כ כל שעתא ושעתא מחייב בה, שלא תקנו ברכה בהנאות שאינן נכנסות לגוף, כגון רחיצת מים קרים וחמין, וכגון נשבה הרוח ונהנה, וכ"ש באור שאינו נוגע בגוף כלל, לא אמרו אלא בדברים הנכנסין לגוף והגוף נהנה מהן כגון אכילה ושתיה, וריח נמי דבר הנכנס לגוף וסועד הוא וכאכילה ושתיה דמי". – Fred Nov 17 '13 at 23:15

same reason you dont make a blessing on a hot shower. not all pleasure/benefit has a bracha.

if it were otherwise, it would appear in the mishna/talmud.

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    Are we trusting you that it doesn't appear in the Talmud anywhere? We don't even know you. Moreover, you haven't explained why not all pleasure gets a bracha, which is the essential question here. – Double AA Nov 17 '13 at 19:08
  • chazal defined what gets a bracha and what doesn't. plain and simple. apparently anointing doesn't fit the bill. i think eating is a special pleasure due to something about the etz hadaat. where God commanded Adam to eat of all the fruit, though other things like scent require a bracha. so its not a hard and fast rule. – ray Nov 17 '13 at 19:13
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    If you want to add your speculation to this post it will then actually answer the question. And btw not all brachot that we say are in the Mishna/Talmud. – Double AA Nov 17 '13 at 19:14
  • it's not speculation. i think that is the answer - there's no set rule. the previous answer by avraham yitzchal states oil does not enter the body. but this is wrong as wfb pointed out in his comment there - it enters thru the skin - hence i stick to my answer that there's no general rule. – ray Nov 18 '13 at 6:21
  • So it's just arbitrary and random? – Double AA Nov 18 '13 at 7:43

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