The Origin of the Shehechiyanu Blessing

The Shehechiyanu is a blessing that expresses gratitude for new, or special, experiences.

What is the history of the blessing?

The blessing originates from a shorter phrase, “Barukh she’higiyanu la’zman ha’zeh,” a phrase of gratitude that means “Thank you for allowing us to reach this moment.” When the formula for blessings was standardized after the destruction of the Second Temple, the four-word phrase was expanded to the current 12-word blessing.

The Shehechiyanu is first mentioned in the Mishnah as a blessing over obtaining a new home or new vessels, and is mentioned in the Talmud in several places such as Pesachim 7b; Sukkah 46a; and Berakhot 37b, 44a, and 59.

When do people recite it today?

Usually recited in addition to a regular blessing, the Shehechiyanu is said whenever we do something for the first time that year. For example, it can be recited upon eating a seasonal fruit, or performing certain mitzvot, such as hearing the shofar, lighting Hannukkah candles or shaking a lulav and etrog. It is also recited at the start of almost every holiday, immersing in the mikveh as part of the conversion process and at a pidyon haben.

Additionally, the Shehechiyanu can be recited for non-mitzvot occasions, such as seeing an old friend, acquiring a new home, household items, or clothing. Some people choose to use the blessing for other special occasions in their lives.

How to say it

Learn more about how to say Shehechiyanu, and how to use it to appreciate the moment.

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