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When I open a new box of tea bags, especially one that was sealed before I opened, I enjoy smelling the strong smell of the tea and/or various herbs that are in there.

Does this require a birkas hareiach (blessing for smell)? If so, which?

  • According to the Aruch Hashulchan, one should not to make a birchath hareiach except at havdala. – Loewian Mar 22 '17 at 16:26
  • @Loewian in general, on any item? – yitznewton Mar 23 '17 at 13:36
  • @yitznewton I believe so. Though I also believe his is a minority opinion on this. – Loewian Mar 23 '17 at 13:59
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Dinonline answers:

Yes, if one smells a herbal tea with the intention of enjoying its scent, one should recite a berachah. If one takes the tea to drink it, and only smells the scent by the way, one would not make a blessing. Note that the scent of ordinary teas is not strong enough to warrant a blessing upon “enjoying the scent,” and only if the tea is truly fragrant would one recite a blessing.

The blessing that one makes would be the appropriate blessing for the herb, and hence would usually be borei isbei besamim.

Additionally, the sefer Re'ach HaSadeh (p.142) quotes Rav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg saying:

Common tea requires no blessing. However, some herbal teas are quite fragrant, and the tea bag requires a blessing, according to its source.

  • 1
    Thanks for the reformatting, I'm not on my computer right now---note: "The prevalent Minhag is to treat tea as a spice, and it is best to refrain from smelling it, and if it is smelled no Bracha is recited." Http://halachafortodaycom.blogspot.com/2013/02/… – NJM Mar 22 '17 at 1:12
  • I'm undecided about accepting this answer. I'm sure Dinonline is run by great people; I just wish they would cite the seforim they used in answering the question :/ – Shokhet Mar 23 '17 at 18:14
  • Agree with everything you noted - hopefully the new edit offers a little more of a source, although unfortunately the sefer doesn't appear to bring the source for tea either. – NJM Mar 24 '17 at 5:36

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