Image: A ripe pomegranate split open on the bush. (LeeTravathan/pixabay)
There is a special blessing Jews say for first times, or first times in a long time. The blessing is called Shehecheyanu [sheh-heh-kheh-YAH-noo.] It’s a big word, and a very special blessing that recognizes that our lives happen in time, and that not all moments are alike.
First, the blessing itself:
Baruch Atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, shehecheyanu, v’kiy’manu, v’higiyanu laz’man hazeh.
And in English:
Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Ruler of Time-and-Space, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this moment.
We say this blessing at times of joy or pleasure, times when we are glad to be alive and to have reached this moment. We don’t say it for things that happen frequently (like Shabbat) or things that are sad (like funerals.) Here are some examples of “shehecheyanu moments:”
- At the beginning of each Jewish holiday.
- When we taste the first fruit of a season (e.g., the first berries in springtime.)
- When we acquire something new and precious to us, either as a gift or a purchase.
- Some Jews say the blessing to mark any first time special moment.
If you want to know more details about the traditional rules, you can find them in an article on the Orthodox Union website.
Don’t forget, while it is nice to be able to say the blessings in Hebrew, it is also fine to say them in English.
Here is a You Tube video by Bim-Bam explaining the blessing and saying it aloud.
When was your most recent “shehecheyanu moment?”