Introduction to SheHecheyanu
Say she’hecheyanu for:
Jewish festivals, and
Note: You MUST say she’hecheyanu on Jewish festivals; saying she’hecheyanu on acquisitions is subjective and is only required if you enjoy the possession and it is new (for you) and valuable.
Say ha’tov v’ha’meitiv instead of she’hecheyanu when two or more people benefit from or enjoy something.
If your wife or husband will enjoy and use the new item too.
When wine is already on the table and a second bottle of wine that is as good as, or better than, the first bottle is brought to the table (and more than one person will drink that second bottle of wine).
Note: When two or more people are eating a new fruit that is in season, each person says the blessings al pri ha’eitz and then she’hechaynu (and not ha’tov v’hameitiv).
Say she’hecheyanu on any item that you acquire through any of the following means, as long as the item gives you pleasure:
Purchases you made.
Used items that you acquire.
Note: If the item would be desirable or a luxury to other people, but it is not to you, or if it only has value to you as a useful item, do not say she’hecheyanu.
Note From Richard Aiken: I said she’hecheyanu on my scuba diving equipment and on my paragliders, the first time I used them.
Women say she’hecheyanu on:
Engagement rings but not on wedding rings.
Men say she’hecheyanu on a new talit. Do not say she’hecheyanu on tefilin.
The only items of attire that get a she’hecheyanu blessing are those that are worn for enjoyment or importance. These are both subjective: If you don’t enjoy new clothes, don’t say she’hecheyanu over them.
Note: She’hecheyanu is not said on shoes.
Say she’hecheyanu on a house, condominium, apartment, or other accommodation that you buy. Don’t say she’hecheyanu on a house or apartment that you are renting.
Note: If you are married (or living there with any other family members), say ha’tov v’ha’meitiv instead of she’hecheyanu.
When To Bless
You may say she’hecheyanu as long as you still feel the exhilaration of having or using the new item (ideally, say the blessing when you purchase the item or receive it as a gift.).
If you buy a house, condominium, apartment, or other accommodation, say she’hecheyanu:
When you buy it, if it is ready to move in when you buy it (if you will live there by yourself).
When you move in, if it is not ready to move in when you buy it (if you will live there by yourself).
Note: If you are married, say ha’tov v’ha’meitiv instead of she’hecheyanu.
Say she’hecheyanu when lighting candles for:
Both days of Rosh Hashana,
First day (if in Eretz Yisrael) or first two days of Sukkot,
Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah,
First day (if in Eretz Yisrael) or both days of Shavuot, and
First day (if in Eretz Yisrael) or first two days of Passover.
Note: She’hecheyanu is not said on the last day (if in Eretz Yisrael) or last two days of Passover.
Order of Blessings
Steps for saying she’hecheyanu on a new fruit:
Say borei pri ha’eitz first, then
Say she’hecheyanu, then
(Cut and) Eat it.
When To Bless
When First in Season
Say she’hecheyanu when eating a fresh (not dried or frozen) fruit for the first time it appears in the market that season (this does not follow Rosh Hashana or any of the other Jewish “years”).
Note: If a fruit is available year round, never say she’hecheyanu over it.
You live in an area in which a fresh fruit is not available all year.
You visit a place in which that fruit IS available all year.
What To Do: You do not say she’hecheyanu when eating this fruit the new place.
You visit a country in which a fresh fruit is not available there year round.
You have not eaten this fruit that year (either since the fruit season began there or within the past 12 months).
What To Do: You may say she’hecheyanu.
A fruit is available year-round in one place.
That fruit is taken to a place where it is not available.
What To Do: You may say she’hecheyanu on the fruit in that second place.
If one type of fruit has many varieties–such as navel oranges, Valencia oranges, kumquats, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits– say she’hecheyanu on each type if the:
Trees have different leaves, OR
Taste differs from one another (taste must be noticeable to an average person).
Note: Since many fruits are often available year round, it may not be possible to ever say she’hecheyanu on those fruits.
On Which Forms To Bless
Say she’hecheyanu on cooked fruit in season if that fruit is not normally available all year. If the fruit is commonly available canned, you may not say she’hecheyanu on it at any time.
Do not say she’hecheyanu on dried fruit.
Note: She’hecheyanu may be said on carob while it is still chewy.
Do not say she’hecheyanu again if:
You already said she’hecheyanu on that type of fruit once during that year,
The fruit then stops being available, but
Later in the year it becomes available again as an import from another country.
You drink the juice of a fruit that you have not eaten for one year.
Later, you will eat the actual fruit,
What To Do: Say she’hecheyanu on the fruit (if you would normally be required to do so).
Note: Having drunk the juice does not affect the status of the fruit’s being new and in season.
Note: You do not ever say she’hecheyanu on fruit juice!
Two or More
If you eat two new fruits at same sitting, say she’hecheyanu only once.
Might Not Like
You have a fruit on which you would like to say she’hecheyanu, but you might not like it.
What To Do: To avoid saying a pointless blessing (bracha l’vatala), you may:
Say the blessing borei pri ha’eitz on a different fruit.
Eat from the fruit you just blessed over.
Taste the new fruit. If you like it—and before you have eaten all of the new fruit—
Swallow the small piece you tasted (if you do not like it, you do not need to swallow it).
Finish eating the new fruit.
Note: When saying she’hecheyanu on a new fruit, there is no preference for on which fruit to say borei pri ha’eitz–you may say it on the new fruit or on any other fruit.
Copyright 2015 Richard B. Aiken. Halacha L’Maaseh appears courtesy of www.practicalhalacha.com Visit their web site for more information.
This material is provided for informational purposes only – not a substitute for the consultation of a competent rabbi.