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  • Anagrammer

    October 2, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    <p>I posted this last night, but I think it got lost with the update (which is awesome, Riva!!!!) </p><p>Let me know what you think of this, general or specific.</p><p><br></p><p>It’s very strange, this not being able to smell. It’s the weirdest sensation to rub Purell onto your palms and then bring your hands up to your nose to sniff, only to be met with… nothing. And it’s odd when the chicken burns as you’re sitting at the kitchen table and your family is scratching their heads over how you didn’t catch even a hint of a burning odor when the oven is already beginning to spew smoke. It’s extremely creepy when you inhale and exhale and sniffle and whiffle yet are met with nothing but oxygen. And when you say things smell hot or tingly as opposed to an actual aroma or scent, you’re looked at as bizarre. But it’s true! You lean closer, you breathe in longer, but the same emptiness greets your hopeful airways.</p><p>But the strangest part of this whole losing-my-sense-of-smell saga is how it started. A full two weeks after I noticed my other symptoms (namely a mild cold), and a week after officially testing positive, we had Havdalah with בשמים. The week before was Rosh Hashana, יקנה”ז, no בשמים then, and so it was two weeks since I’d heard the bracha “בורא מיני בשמים”. I nonchalantly lifted one of the בשמים holders to my nose. “Uh! Uh! Nu!” I frantically gestured, reaching for another one. I tried the other one, and the other one, and yet the other one, but all were… broken. Until I saw my family’s dubious expressions, and I realized that A-they smelled the בשמים perfectly fine and B- they thought I was playing a prank on them (it really wouldn’t have been a funny prank). </p><p>I waited until the wine was downed, “gut voch” was said, and then exclaimed “I can’t smell!” Everyone had different reactions, but most were pretty suspicious. It was two weeks that I had Corona already, and now I was waking up that I’d lost my sense of smell?? “Yeah! I just realized!” I insisted. It was only once I was about to try cinnamon (which one of my family members said his friend had been able to smell even when everything else was odorless to him) and asked if I should make a bracha first, or if it would be aברכה לבטלה , that they finally started to believe me. “You mean you really can’t smell??” Affirmative. I think the thing that had them most suspicious was that it had actually taken me sixteen days to discern my lack of smell.</p><p>I mulled it over for a while. How could I not have noticed? Now that I know, it’s so obvious, glaring in fact. And it has definitely been here (or not been here) all along because my sister just informed me that the new hand soap we got two weeks ago actually has a delicious blossom scent, which I was completely unaware of…</p><p>Suddenly a random thought crossed my mind. I was taken aback at myself, at the childish simplicity of my imagination. What I wondered was: How would a גוי know he lost his sense of smell? I laughed my question off at first, dismissing it as nonsense. But it kept coming back, refusing to go away. And so, I let it take center stage in my mind, allowing it to sink into my consciousness. How would one know he had lost his sense of smell if not for the sacred mitzvah of בשמים? </p><p>And I was suddenly overcome by this rush of “אשרינו מה טוב חלקינו”, with a newfound awareness of the richness of our מסורה. What full, vibrant lives we lead, and how fortunate we are to be connected to Hashem through every mundane aspect of our existence! Twelve months a year, for twenty-four hours a day, with all five of our senses… and the list goes on. “אתה בחרתנו מכל העמים… וקדשתנו במצוותיך”. You chose us and brought us close to You with Your Torah, and its mitzvos carry us through everything, always. </p><p>What better time to be hit with this clarity than now? Erev Sukkos תשפ”א, with a sense of smell or not… I will make this יום טוב one where I take everything I have and everything I am and “כל עצמותי תאמרנה”, use every bit of it to glorify Your name, Hashem.</p><p>

    </p><p>And for some reason, as I puff myself up with אשרינו, I keep picturing them smelling and smelling, trying to catch a whiff… only to be met with הבל, empty air. “אהבת אותנו ורצית בנו…וקרבתנו מלכינו לעבודתיך”; only we are privy to the myriad scents of קדושה that enrich the life of an ‘עבד ה. You can call it a sixth sense.</p><p><br></p>

  • Anagrammer

    October 2, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    <p>Hmm, all the formatting is wrong…</p>

  • Fayge Y.

    October 5, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    <p>Maybe but oh, I identify.</p><p>Your use of the term hevel is especially timely.<br></p>

    • Anagrammer

      October 5, 2020 at 7:27 pm

      <p>Thanks, Fayge. Glad you relate!</p>

  • HappiWriter

    October 5, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    <p>Anagrammer, I love this! such a humorous and uplifting perspective!! 😀</p>

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