Thursday, January 11, 2007

she'hechiyanu on mitzvos

Last week we visited the sofer to order a set of tefillin for my son who will be bar mitzvah this spring. On the way home my wife asked me whether he needs to recite she’hechiyanu. By coincidence, my friend Chaim Markowitz discussed that very topic on his blog last week, so take a look there for the answer. I’ll just add one point that I saw in the quoted in the name of the Rav (Reshimos Shiurim Sukkah, p. 240) :

The Rambam writes in hilchos milah (3:3) that after the milah is performed, the father of the child (mashma: even if someone else does the milah) recites the bracha of she’hechiyanu.

Yet, with respect to pidyon haben, the Rambam writes (bikkurim 11:5) that the father recites the bracha of she’hechiyanu before the money for pidyon is given to the kohen.

So which is it – is she’hechiyanu recited over l’asiyasan, before the performance of a mitzvah, as the milah case indicates, or is it recited after the mitzvah is completed, like the pidyon haben case?


  1. kishnevi8:34 PM

    I'm assuming you meant the last paragraph to read..."after the mitzvah is completed, like the milah case?"

    You are making me feel bad, btw. But I would reckon that tefillin would be on the lines of talis as described by Chaim M. But is there any relevance to the fact that the act of wearing tefillin and talit is repeatable, as is the mitzvah of milah (with other sons, of course), whereas the mitzvah of pidyon haben is, in the lifestyles of modern times, one that would not be expected to be repeated [since to do so would require having at least two wives who each have a son as their firstborn]?

  2. Bill Selliger10:50 PM

    See the last Ba'al Hame'or in Pesachim. He writes that we don't say a Shehechiyanu on Sefiras Ha'omer because the mitzva of Sefira in our days conjures up feelings of loss and pain – i.e. the absence of the Bais Hamikdash. The same idea could theoretically be applied to blessing before the milah; as opposed to Pidyon Haben, where no negative physical or emotional feelings are at play.