Smelling Fragrant Spices

Found In: Welcoming & Raising Children, Covenant & Naming Rituals

From the Itim Institute | Ritual Component

Some people follow a custom to pass around fragrances, myrtle or rosemary leaves, mint leaves, cinnamon sticks or cloves. The fragrant spices symbolize life, love, and renewal. It is advisable to bring a large quantity of spices so that it will be possible to pass them around to all your guests in a short time.

Upon smelling the fragrant spices the blessing is:

ברוך אתה אדני אלוהינו מלך העולם בורא מיני בשמים

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha-olam boreh minei b'samim.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, the creator of spices.

If the spice is a plant, then the blessing is instead: 

ברוך אתה אדני אלוהינו מלך העולם בורא עשבי בשמים

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha-olam boreh isvei b'samim.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, Lord of the Universe, who created sod spices.

After smelling the spice, some recite:

והיה לך למשיב נפש

Vi-hayah li-cha li-meishiv nefesh.

 "And this child shall be to thee a restorer of thy life," based on the verse in Ruth 4:15.