Saturday, September 20, 2008

New clothes or food for the 2nd night of Rosh HaShanah


We wear new clothes or eat a new fruit on the second night of Rosh haShanah.

This practice has roots in a technical problem: The second day of Rosh haShanah is considered an extension of the first, and so it does not warrant the blessing of "Shehechiyanu," which is usually reserved for first-time events. On the other hand, the second day is also considered, somewhat, an independent entity, and so we really should recite the "Shehechiyanu" blessing.

To solve the problem, we wear new clothes or eat a new fruit, which then warrants a "Shehechiyanu" blessing in any case. If the person lighting candles recites the "Shehechiyanu" blessing when lighting, then she should already be wearing a new garment at that point, or she should have the new fruit before her, so that she experiences the joy of the new item when lighting.

Please note that the new garment warrants a "Shehechiyanu" blessing only if it provides joy at that point in time. If it was wearable at the moment of purchase, the Shehechiyanu should really have been recited then; that was the true moment of joy.

Please note, too, that a new fruit warrants a "Shehechiyanu" blessing only if it provides joy. If one hadn't bought it until now simply because he didn't want it, then it doesn't truly provide joy.

One who cannot find a new garment or fruit still recites the "Shehechiyanu" blessing.

(Code of Jewish Law Orach Chaim 600:2; Mishneh Berurah 600:4)

Have a great day,

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