What is the shehecheyanu blessing or shechecheyanu blessing ? The single word "shehecheyanu" or "shechecheyanu" means either "who has kept us alive" or "He Who has kept us in life" in Hebrew. The root of this Hebrew word is Chet-Yod-Heh, which is a verb meaning "to live" in Hebrew. It is the same root as the Hebrew word "chai", which means "life" or "living". The shehecheyanu blessing or shechecheyanu blessing is essentially a blessing that thanks G-d for granting us life, for sustaining us, and for enabling us to reach this day and season.
When is the shehecheyanu blessing or shechecheyanu blessing recited ?
The shehecheyanu blessing or shechecheyanu blessing is first recited following the lighting of candles to begin the holiday celebration. The shehecheyanu blessing or shechecheyanu blessing is again recited after the blessing over the wine to sanctify the holiday, known as "kiddush" in Hebrew, and before drinking the wine. The kiddush blessing for Rosh Hashanah is a special kiddush blessing just for Rosh Hashanah that differs from other kiddush blessings for other Jewish holidays.
Note that when the first day of Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbat, the kiddush for the eve of the second day includes these five elements, in order: (1) Blessing on the Wine, (2) Blessing on the Sanctity of the Day, (3) Blessing on Fire (as we do each week after Shabbat ends), Havadalah ("separation" blessing marking the close of the Shabbat or Sabbath), and (4) the Shehecheyanu blessing. Collectively, this order for performing the kiddush on the eve of the second day of Rosh Hashanah if the first day of Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbat is known as "Yaknahaz". "Yaknahaz" is an acronym for the Hebrew words for "Wine, Day, Candle, Separation, Season".
Some Jews have the Rosh Hashanah custom to place a new fruit for the season that has net yet been eaten on the Rosh Hashanah festive table only on the second evening of Rosh Hashanah. The women will recite the shehecheyanu blessing or shechecheyanu blessing when lighting the candles to begin the holiday celebration, and the men will recite the shehecheyanu blessing or shechecheyanu blessing during the kiddush blessing. Thus, the recitation of the shehecheyanu blessing or shechecheyanu blessing for these Jews will take place only on the second evening of Rosh Hashanah.
One of the most well-known and popular Rosh Hashanah customs is to eat apples that have been dipped in honey. The origin of eating apples dipped in honey on Rosh Hashanah is based on the Jewish custom of eating a newly ripened fruit for the first time in the season that participants have not tasted either for a year or at least for a long time. This tradition has literally become a way to taste the newness of the year, by enjoying an unfamiliar food, and since Rosh Hashanah occurs around the beginning of the apple season, the apple has become the "first fruit". The purpose of eating apples dipped in honey is to symbolically express the hope that it will be a sweet year. After the blessing over bread ("Ha-Motzi" in Hebrew), specifically the traditional challah bread (a type of egg bread), and before partaking in the Rosh Hashanah festive meal, we recite the blessings both over the apple ("Bore Pri Ha'etz" in Hebrew, which means "Who Creates The Fruit Of The Tree"; pronounced: "Boray Pree Ha-ets") as well as another shehecheyanu blessing or shechecheyanu blessing. And then, before eating the fruit dipped in honey, we ask G-d "to renew this year for us with sweetness and happiness".
What are the words to the shehecheyanu blessing or shechecheyanu blessing ?
The words to the shehecheyanu blessing or shechecheyanu blessing are as follows, first in transliterated Hebrew, and then in English:
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
Blessed are you, L-rd, our G-d, sovereign (or king) of the universe
shehecheyanu v'kiyimanu v'higi'anu laz'man hazeh. (Amein)
who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season (Amen)
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