Torah Portion: Ki Sisa
The incense that you shall make — in its proportion you shall not make for yourselves; it shall remain holy to you, for Hashem. Whoever makes it’s like to smell it shall be cut off from his people. (Shemos 30:37-38).
It is a negative commandment to not duplicate the formulation of the Incense that was used in the Temple; that is, to use the same amounts of ingredients with the intention of burning it as incense for himself, as it is written, The incense that you shall make — in its proportion you shall not make for yourselves; it shall remain holy to you, for Hashem (Shemos 30:37), and it is written, Whoever makes its like to smell it shall be cut off from his people. ( ibid. v. 38) — meaning, that while preparing it, his intention was for the sake of burning it for person enjoyment.
Among the roots of the mitzvah is the idea written above with regard to the prohibition against smearing it [on ordinary people (Mitzvah 108): to elevate the Temple and everything that it contains. By withholding it from the masses it will make it more valuable in their eyes, for such is the nature of people; the scarcer something is the more valuable it is.]
The laws of the mitzvah include: One who prepares it as practice or to sell it to the public, is exempt. One who prepares even a small amount of it, if the quantities were in proportion to the weights of the incense ingredients prescribed by the Torah, is guilty of this prohibition.
This prohibition against preparing it applies in all places and at all times, to both men and women. One who transgresses this and prepared according to its specifications in order to smell it — if it was intentional, he is liable for excision, and if it was inadvertent, he is liable for a standard burnt-offering.