Sunday, January 20, 2013

Reviewing the laws of Shehechiyanu


With Tu b'Shevat happening this coming Shabbat, and an associated custom of eating special fruit, here are some of the laws of Shehechiyanu:

One who sees a seasonal, newly available fruit, and feels great joy at seeing it, recites the berachah of Shehechiyanu; this should be done before reciting the berachah on eating the fruit.  Technically, one recites Shehechiyanu even when seeing someone else's fruit, but we generally recite the blessing only upon eating; this is when most people feel the greatest joy. One who eats many types of new fruit at the same sitting should recite one collective Shehechiyanu.

One does not recite Shehechiyanu on underripe fruit, even if it is somewhat edible. One does recite Shehechiyanu on cooked fruit.

Fruit which is available via import all year still warrants a Shehechiyanu when it begins to grow locally and one eats it for the first time, if the local fruit is fresher or better. Fruits which are available during two distinct times of the year, with a significant (at least one month) period of non-availability between them, warrant Shehechiyanu each time the fruit becomes available and its presence induces joy.

One should avoid reciting Shehechiyanu on fruit produced via a graft prohibited by the Torah. The berachah is not recited for items which receive a berachah of "borei pri ha'adamah". One whose personal joy is not that great should not recite Shehechiyanu.

(Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 225:3, 6; Mishneh Berurah 225:11-12, 18; Aruch haShulchan 225:7, 12; Birkei Yosef 225:4; Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 1:87, 2:58, 3:34)

Have a great day,

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