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Shehecheyanu

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Shehecheyanu

The Shehecheyanu blessing (Hebrew: שהחינו‎, "Who has given us life") is a common Jewish prayer said to celebrate special occasions. It is said to be thankful for new and unusual experiences.[1] The blessing has been recited by Jews for nearly 2000 years. It comes from the Talmud (Berachot 54a, Pesakhim 7b, Sukkah 46a, etc.)

Recitation

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

(normally said before the blessing over the fruit, but some customarily say it afterwards)[2]
The fruit must be fresh, not dried[2]
  • Seeing a friend who has not been seen in thirty days
  • Acquiring a new home, or significant new articles of clothing or utensils, such as a new suit
  • 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

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 Nissan/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 which 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).[3]

Text

Hebrew[1] English[2] Transliteration[1]

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ

Blessed are You, Lord Baruch atah Adonai

אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הַעוֹלָם

our God, King of the

Universe,

Eloheinu melekh ha'olam

שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ

who has granted us life, sustained us she-ecḥeyanu ve'qi'eh'manu

וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה׃

and

enabled us to reach this occasion.

ve'higiy'anu laz'man 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.[4]

Modern history

The Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel 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 Fishman, recited the Shehecheyanu blessing, and the Declaration of Independence was signed. The ceremony concluded with the singing of "Hatikvah."

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

There is a common musical rendition of the blessing composed by Meyer Machtenberg, an Eastern European choirmaster who composed it in United States in the 19th century.The Yeshiva Boys Choir did a piece called "Shehechiyanu" featuring the last two verses of the Shehecheyanu blessing.

Media

  • MP3 file - Shehecheyanu blessing from VirtualCantor.com
  • ShehecheyanuSheet music for

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Jewish Virtual Library
  2. ^ a b c Shehecheyanu
  3. ^ Nulman, Macy, Encyclopedia of Jewish Prayer (1993, NJ, Jason Aronson) page 91; Scherman, Nosson, The Expanded ArtScroll Siddur (Ashkenaz)(2010, Brooklyn, Mesorah Publ'ns) page 231.
  4. ^ Mail-Jewish: Lazman haze vs. Lizman haze
    Discussed
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