• Abstinence from Fragrance
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Abstinence from Fragrance

Sun & Moon, originally uploaded by azredheadedbrat.

Today was 9th of Av (the 4th month in the Jewish calendar) - the day in which both the first and second temples were destroyed. It's interesting, that while there are plenty of references to incense and fragrance in the bible, there is very little ritual involving scent in Judaism.
The reason being, that the incense and anointing oils were only to be used in the presence of the Shekhinah. And after the destruction of the temple, the Shekhinah is believe to have left the people of Israel and is to come back only when the Messiah arrives.
Until than, Jewish ceremonies, for the most part, contain no fragrance. In any case, no fragrance that is burned and no anointing oils. Fragrance is included (but is not mandatory) as one of the blessing on the Sabbath table as well as when the Sabbath is over (in the "Havdalah"). Herbs such as myrtle are most commonly used for the fragrance blessing "Bore Miney Besamim" on those occasions, and so is a pomander of lemon or orange dried with spears of clove buds.

And what were those perfumes used in the holy incense and anointing oil in the holy tent and in the Hebrew tabernacle?
These were precious perfumes of antiquity, also used by the Egyptians, such as myrrh, frankincense, agarwood, spikenard, cinnamon and calamus. While the ingredients were allowed to be used as desired for personal pleasure or cosmetic use (such as in the Song of Solomon), the exact ratio was consecrated and was not to be repeated or used by anyone except for the priests. The oil was used to anoint the tools and furniture in the tabernacle, and the incense was used during the ceremonies.
  • BibleExodusHoly Anointing OilHoly IncenseIncenseTabernacle
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