Q&A: Incense for Home Ritual
I received an email asking me about the use of incense for Rosh Chodesh. Normally, I would just reply to the email but the woman must have mis-entered her address when she filled out the contact form. I figured if I post this to the site there was a chance she might see it. Feel free to ask me your questions!
I am looking for information on incense or smudging as part of early Jewish home or tribal life. Want to make it a part of Rosh Chodesh meetup but some might be skeptical.
I have found some interesting resources to hopefully give you some guidance, but in the end – it’s really giong to be up to you if you find it “legit.” Even if some are skeptical, you may be able to introduce it. You may want to avoid using Hindu or Buddhist incense, as it it usually dedicated to a specific deity, and could be particularly objectionable to some.
This seemed to be the most useful thing I dug up, and it’s from a source I really respect:
When we start asking questions like this, we discover that the shofar can be powerful medicine. “At times, the horn of a ram, or shofar, is employed for the healing ceremony, sometimes as a conduit for directing herbal smoke as in smudging (Midrash Thilim 22:14.), and sometimes as a way of shifting the breath, as with other shamanic traditions where the shaman blows healing breath into the patient. The shofar is believed to wield the power of shattering any factors of resistance to healing that might be present
This quote was from: http://www.hearingshofar.com/
- Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth Magic and Mysticism – entry on Incense
There is a searchable version of Household and Family Religion on Amazon. Search for “incense” in the book and it will give you some additional information.
Hope this helps!