Shehecheyanu

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The Shehecheyanu blessing (Hebrew: ברכת שהחיינו‎, "Who has given us life") is a common Jewish prayer said to celebrate special occasions. It is said to express gratitude to God for new and unusual experiences or possessions.[1] The blessing is recorded in the Talmud,[2] indicating that it has been recited for over 1500 years.

Recitation[edit]

The blessing of Shehecheyanu is recited in thanks or commemoration of:

  • Generally, when doing or experiencing something that occurs infrequently from which one derives pleasure or benefit.
  • The beginning of a holiday, including Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simhat Torah and Hanukkah, but not holidays commemorating sad events, such as Tisha B'av.
  • The first performance of certain mitzvot in a year, including sitting in a sukkah, eating matzah at the Passover Seder, reading the megillah, or lighting the candles on Hanukkah.
  • Eating a new fruit for the first time since Rosh Hashanah.
    Normally said before the blessing over the fruit, but some customarily say it afterwards.[3]
    The fruit must be fresh, not dried.[3]
  • Seeing a friend who has not been seen in thirty days.
  • Acquiring a new home or other significant possessions.
  • The birth of a child (but not at the circumcision).
  • A pidyon haben ceremony.
  • During a ritual immersion in a mikveh as part of a conversion.
  • On arrival in Israel.

Some have the custom of saying it at the ceremony of the Birkat Hachama, which is recited once every 28 years in the month of Nisan/Adar II.

When several reasons apply (such as the beginning of Passover, together with the mitzvot of matzah, marror, etc.), the blessing is only said once.

It is not recited at a circumcision, since that involves pain, nor at the Counting of the Omer, since that is a task that does not give pleasure and causes sadness at the thought that the actual Omer ceremony cannot be performed because of the destruction of the Temple.[4][5]

Text[edit]

Hebrew[1] English[3] Transliteration[1]
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ Blessed are You, Lord, Baruch atah Adonai
אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הַעוֹלָם our God, King of the Universe, Elohenu melekh ha'olam
שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ who has granted us life, sustained us, shehecheyanu vekiymanu
וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה׃ and allowed/let us [to] arrive at this Time. vehigi'anu lazman hazeh.

Some traditions dictate saying "lizman" rather than "lazman" ("to [this] season"); this follows the ruling of the Mishnah Berurah and Aruch Hashulchan, following Magen Avraham, and is followed by Chabad, but this seems to be a minority usage and is contrary to usual Hebrew usage.[6][7]

Modern history[edit]

The Israeli Declaration of Independence was publicly read in Tel Aviv on May 14, 1948, before the expiration of the British Mandate at midnight. After the first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, read the Declaration of Independence, Rabbi Yehuda Leib Maimon recited the Shehecheyanu blessing, and the Declaration of Independence was signed. The ceremony concluded with the singing of "Hatikvah."[8]

Avshalom Haviv finished his speech in court on June 10, 1947, with the Shehecheyanu blessing.[9]

There is a common musical rendition of the blessing composed by Meyer Machtenberg, an Eastern European choirmaster who composed it in the United States in the 19th century.[10]

Media[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Jewish Prayers: Shehecheyanu Blessing". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  2. ^ Berachot 54a, Pesakhim 7b, Sukkah 46a, etc.
  3. ^ a b c "Shehecheyanu". Chabad.org. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  4. ^ Nulman, Macy (1993). Encyclopedia of Jewish Prayer. NJ. p. 91.
  5. ^ Scherman, Nosson (2010). The Expanded ArtScroll Siddur (Ashkenaz). Brooklyn: Mesorah Publ'ns. p. 231.
  6. ^ Gevaryahu, Gilead J. (2 June 2000). "Subject: Lazman haze vs. Lizman haze". Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  7. ^ pitputim (24 March 2011). "Am I over-reacting?". Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  8. ^ Wohlgelernter, Elli (30 April 1998). "One Day that Shook the World". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on 12 January 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  9. ^ Phillips, Moshe (25 June 2009). "Remember Your 21st Birthday?". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  10. ^ "Shehecheyanu (arr. M. Sobol for voice, choir and orchestra)". Spotify. Retrieved 24 May 2020.