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1198 – Birchos Hodaah – (Klal 62 Siman 3-4) – Shehecheyanu 6 – Only a Davar Chashuv; Receiving a Present

D'var Halacha
D'var Halacha
1198 - Birchos Hodaah - (Klal 62 Siman 3-4) - Shehecheyanu 6 - Only a Davar Chashuv; Receiving a Present
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 We are beginning siman 3. The Chayei Adam previously explained (shiur 1195) that the root of the reason to recite shehecheyanu is the simcha one feels from the new item. Therefore, the Chayei Adam writes that if one does not receive simcha from the item (due to it’s lack of Chashivus), they do not make a bracha. On the other hand, if the person is poor and receives simcha from something which many would not, they would make a bracha. 

However, the Mishnah Berurah disagrees, and holds that if the item is something from which even people of average wealth do not receive simcha, a poor person would not make a bracha either. He explains that we have learned (shiur 1193) that shehecheyanu is built on a time element in that it is acquired infrequently. Something which has such little chashivus does not have a time element to it, because it is acquired so often. Even though there may be a unique time element for the poor person, since society in general does not perceive this item as having a time element, it does not receive a bracha. We follow the Mishnah Berurah.

 The Chayei Adam writes that if a poor person receives an item as a gift, they make the bracha hatov vehametiv, because there is a benefit to the recipient and to the giver for getting to fulfil the mitzvah of tzedakah. 

The Chayei Adam points out that the Gra does not agree with this psak. This psak is based on a Yerushalmi. The Gra is of the opinion that the Bavli disagrees with the Yerushalmi, and holds that one should recite shehecheyanu. 

The Biur Halacha points out that even if the correct bracha is hatov vehametiv, one would be yotzei if they recited shehecheyanu. However, if the correct bracha is shehecheyanu, they are not yotzei by reciting hatov vehametiv. Therefore, in our case, the Mishnah Berurah writes that one should make a shehecheyanu to avoid the safeik and be yotzei according to all opinions. 

Summary

  • Whether one will make a shehecheyanu on a new item will be dependent on whether they receive simcha from it. Either way, items from which even people of average means do not receive simcha will never receive a shehecheyanu.
  • If a poor person receives an item as a gift, they make a shehecheyanu.

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