Saying shehechiyanu

By Rabbi Julian Sinclair, December 1, 2011

Many people's favourite blessing, shehechiyanu, thanks God "who has kept us alive, and sustained us, and enabled us to reach this moment".

We say shehechiyanu on significant occasions like weddings and Jewish festivals but also on more private moments like wearing new clothes or getting a promotion at work.  Anything new and good in your life is legitimate grounds for a shehechiyanu.

Eating a fruit for the first time in the season is another opportunity.  As regular shoppers of Jerusalem's Machane Yehuda market, our family knows when many fruits are in season. The kids are looking forward to December when the first strawberries hit the stalls. 

We will definitely be making shehechiyanu on our first taste of this year's crop. In contrast, apples are always available in the market and do not have a noticeable season. Therefore, even if you have not had an apple for a long period, you do not say shehechiyanu before your first bite.

Pausing to thank God for a new happy experience -no matter its scale - helps us recognise that every day holds the chance to find joy in big and small pleasures.

Last updated: 12:50pm, December 1 2011