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10

You are essentially correct. There is a blessing to be said when you see fire on Saturday night. It is essentially entirely independent of Havdalah. If you're making Havdalah anyway (99% of cases) then the custom is to say that blessing at that time to give it honor (or something like that). But if you don't have fire available that certainly doesn't ...


7

In the book "Entheogens and the Development of Culture: The Anthropology and Neurobiology of Ecstatic Experience" by John Rush on page 73 he mentions that Sula Benet in her book "Le chanvre dans les croyances et les coutumes populaires" published in 1936 is the source of Keneh Bosem is cannabis. Perhaps Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan did not indicate the source of this ...


6

Good question! Short answer: yes, but probably only freshly-ground beans. Mishna Brurah 216.16 writes, concerning the blessings on spices anytime you smell them during the week: כתבו האחרונים המריח בקאוו"י כתושה והיא חמה שריחה נודף ואדם נהנה מאותו ריח צריך לברך ברכת אשר נתן וכו':‏ The late authorities wrote that one who smells ground coffee, if it is ...


4

Mishnah Berurah 297 Seif kattan 1 says the minhag is always to say borei minei besamim at Havdalah, regardless of what you're using for spices. He writes the reason is to avoid people making a mistake in which bracha to make. However, he advises to use a spice who's bracha is usually borei minei besamim. He doesn't say multiple spices as you suggested, but ...


4

For what it's worth, the CRC's kashrut app lists vanilla beans as kosher without certification. @msh210 says Twitter CRC Plain vanilla beans without any added kosher sensitive ingredients are fine even without certification


3

It's possible that Magen Avraham got this from Kol Bo. See footnote 57 on p. 15 here as well as Kol Bo section 52 here, right column a few lines from the bottom. Kol Bo states that it was customary for people to put saffron in their matzot because it makes people happy. Kol Bo doesn't explain the custom any further nor why specifically saffron. I'm ...


2

Yes, yes and yes The to use the spices for havdolo is not a mitzvah as long as you have pleasure from there smell you can use them Shulchan aruch harav 297.1 הנהיגו חכמים להריח בבשמים בכל מוצאי שבת כדי להשיב את הנפש שהיא דואבת ליציאת השבת בשביל הנשמה יתירה שהלכה לפיכך מיישבים ומשמחין אותה בריח טוב במה דברים אמורים כשיש לו בשמים אזי הוא צריך להריח בהם ...


2

Procurement-wise, there's been great spice trading for a very long time, so this really was nothing unusual. It was the incense of choice for all the surrounding pagan cultures. The Talmud Avoda Zara 14a talks about whether it's permissible to sell frankincense to pagans, knowing that they will use it in their worship. לבונה: אמר רבי יצחק אמר ר"ש בן ...


2

The OU writes: Another category change involves fermentation products such as citric acid, lactic acid, and monosodium glutamate. These products are produced by growing certain microorganisms (fungi, bacteria, and yeasts) in large tanks called fermentors. Ingredients in the fermentor, as well as those which are used to grow the microorganism in early stages,...


2

See the contemporary sefer Ohel Yaakov here who discusses a machlokes whether a dry davar charif like black pepper is still a problem for cutting or only a moist one, and he points out that the majority opinion is that even dry spicy things are a problem. In a footnote he remarks that this should apply to onion powder and garlic powder as well. (By cooking ...


1

Not having any spices is certainly not a havdallah stopper. Proof: when Yom Tov coincides with after Shabbat, we say Havdallah (as part of Kiddush) without smelling spices.


1

Rabbi Tzvi Rosen wrote for the Star-K (Orthodox Jewish Council of Baltimore) in the spring of 2012: Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is produced through a fermentation process of molasses or beets and is a flavor enhancer in soups, meats and sauces. MSG requires reliable kosher certification.


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