A friend of mine, Michael Millenson, has a piece over at the Huffington Post about why tomorrow is an amazing and appropriate time to recite the Shehechiyanu prayer:
Blessed are you Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion.
It seems to me that the Shehechiyanu is the natural response for all Obama supporters who remember his 20-point lag in the polls in the fall of 2007, the bitter cold of Iowa in January of 2008 and the long slog through the primary season. It is the prayer for all Democrats giddy at the end of the ruinous reign of Republican ideologues whose politics look very much like Kristol’s.
And finally, it is a prayer that can unite all Americans — and, yes, it resonates with special force for African-Americans — who are filled with genuine joy (that word again — I can’t help it) at the way in which Inauguration Day 2009 has sustained us with an extraordinary revival of the American dream.
I often struggle with how exactly to bring together important Jewish and American events and holidays. I don’t usually think they naturally complement each other, and often I think they’re in marked contrast, but not in this case. In this case, I think Millenson is right, and I look forward to saying Shehecheyanu tomorrow morning.
Pronounced: sheh-hekh-ee-YAH-new, Origin: Hebrew, a blessing said upon experiencing a new or special occasion.