Using Cologne As Besamim

Hi, is it permissible to use perfume, assuming it has alcohol content, for bessamim during havdalah? Thanks

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim siman 217 seif 3) writes that one does not recite a bracha for besamim on clothing which absorbed a good smell from incense. He reasons that the smell in the clothing is just what was left behind, but not the actual source of the smell. One may conclude that if the source of the smell is still present, such as is the case with a bottle of perfume, one may recite a bracha for besamim. It would seem that one may use perfume for besamim on motza shabbat.


However, there is a second issue with using perfume by havdala. Most perfumes that one buys nowadays are made from artificial ingredients, and are not the essence of natural plants. There is a dispute among the poskim of the recent generations if one may recite the bracha for besamim on artificial scents. Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and Rabbi Elyashiv both rule that one may not recite the bracha on artificial scents. However, Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Sheinberg, and Rabbi Moshe Levi rule that one should recite a bracha on artificial scents.


Practically, one may use perfume for havdala. See Chazon Ovadia-Yamim Nora’im, page 287 and Halacha Berura, Volume 11, page 84.


All the best

Rabbi Shay Tahan