Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Marketing research shows that there is a 40% improvement in mood after being exposed to pleasant scents. I know that’s certainly true for me when I walk past coffee shops and inhale the scent.

There is a special category of berachot on things that give us enjoyment, including fragrant scents. Such berachot are made on the object which gives us enjoyment. The goal of these berachot is to guide us to a recognition that material enjoyments are gifts from Hashem and are thereby a medium for us to strengthen our connection to the ultimate source of our gifts.


How do you give enjoyment to others, in order to strengthen your connection to them? Do you call your (grand)parents before Shabbat, or leave a loving note/favorite snack in a child’s backpack when they’re having a rough time?

The mitzvot around scent reminds us that finding pleasure, and recognizing its ultimate source is another tool we can use to grow in gratitude and connectedness.

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Anat Coleman is the Director of Strategic and Community Initiatives at the Jewish Community Council of Washington Heights, and a board member of The Beis Community.