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QUESTION

Brooklyn, NY

If someone lost their sense of smell from Covid related symptoms are they allowed to say borei minei besamim? What should they do if saying the Havdalah for others in their household?

ANSWER

No. My sense of smell – unrelated to COVID – has become quite poor, and I have someone else (my wife) make the berakhah. Even according to those opinions – which I don’t pasken like – that women are patur from Havdalah, this isn’t Havdalah (which is the final berakhah), it’s just a birkat ha’nehenim over spices. If no one is available to make the berakhah, you just skip it – Shulchan Arukh OC 297:1 – מברך על הבשמים אם יש לו, ואם אין לו א”צ לחזור אחריהם.