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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Shemini – The Rosh Yeshiva Responds – Havdalah: Before Tzeit/Lost Sense of Smell

by Rabbi Dov Linzer (Posted on April 4, 2024)
Topics: Rosh Yeshiva Responds, Sefer Vayikra, Shemini, Torah

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וּֽלְהַבְדִּ֔יל בֵּ֥ין הַקֹּ֖דֶשׁ וּבֵ֣ין הַחֹ֑ל וּבֵ֥ין הַטָּמֵ֖א וּבֵ֥ין הַטָּהֽוֹר׃

for you must distinguish between the sacred and the profane, and between the impure and the pure; (Vayikra 10:10).

Havdalah for Kids Before Tzeit


For many of my families, day light savings time means that Havdalah will be later than their kids bed time. On one hand doing it Sunday morning seems halakhically fine but experientially strange. Could one do Havdalah without a candle and without Sheim HaShem before bed time so kids feel like Shabbat is ending?


Yes. See Shulchan Arukh OC 293:3. One can make Havdalah (without candle) from Plag on, when necessary. You won’t be saying the borei meorei ha’eish berakhah, obviously, and all other berakhot will be said normally. I do this regularly, since I wait 72 minutes for Shabbat to be over, and my family doesn’t, so I often make Havdalah when Shabbat is over for them, even if it isn’t over for me. Obviously, one has to wait until Tzeit to be allowed to do melakhah. Saying from Plag on just fulfills the mitzvah of Havdalah.

Lost Sense of Smell and Borei Minei Besamim

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?


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.

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