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The Shehecheyanu: A Blessing to Commemorate Special Occasions

by Gabriella Tzin

There is a traditional Jewish blessing that’s sole purpose is to mark specific appointed times as well as special occasions, it is called “shehecheyanu (שהחינו).” Literally translated, it means “Who has given us life,” and it is to be recited after one has experienced something new or unusual as a way of showing gratitude to God.

shehecheyanu

The shehecheyanu blessing can be found in the Talmud, signifying that it has been used for over 2000 years. It is traditionally recited for the following holidays: the beginning of Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, and Chanukah. It is not to be recited when commemorating sad events, however, such as Tisha B’av.

Some other occasions in which it is to be said include the birth of a child, the accomplishment of certain mitzvot, eating a new type of fresh fruit for the first time since Rosh Hashanah, acquiring a new home, visiting with a friend who has not been seen in thirty days, upon arrival to Israel, and many more.

This blessing is rather versatile and is suitable to recite for a number of life events, ranging from the more important occasions to the seemingly less significant ones.

Below is the original Hebrew text of the shehecheyanu as well as the English translation:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם

שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה

Blessed are You Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe who has given us life, sustained us, and allowed us to reach this day.

We hope this prayer will be beneficial and useful to you for the next biblical holidays as well as for any life events that might occur.

About Gabriella Tzin

Gabriella is the content writer for Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry in Jerusalem. She enjoys hiking and exploring the great outdoors with her husband and cat in her spare time. Some of her other hobbies and interests include raising chickens, sheep wrestling, shotgun skeet shooting, photography, and making mosaics.

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