1

This site says

Authorities dispute whether the berachah of shehecheyahu is entirely subjective, depending on the subjective joy a person feels, or whether the berachah includes an objective element, whereby if a garment or item is not important, and does not usually induce joy, one cannot recite the blessing.

It continues to cite some examples, but after reading this, I'm still unclear if one should recite Shehechiyanu for:

  • special occasion attire such as a bridal gown? The bridal gown will be worn just once (we hope!!!)
  • tux - does it matter if it is bought or rented? Does it matter if the tux is worn just once (such as only wedding) or on rare occasions, like going to a fancy "black tie" affair? What about a waiter who wears a tux for his job?

Regarding the above two items, the site says:

Even if the item has some degree of importance, such as a fancy shirt, it is sufficient for making the blessing, provided that the person experiences subjective joy in buying it.

I'm inferring that this is not limited to a fancy shirt but a fancy top. Certainly, these items give one joy. But, does it matter that the "joy" may be "limited" if a person doesn't own it or will be wearing it for just one occasion? And, if a person wears the tux for his job, does that emit "joy"?

  • sneakers, flip flops, crocs?

What is considered "new"? Does it have to be specifically never worn by anyone? What is someone gave me clothes that they wore, previously; they are "new" for me.

  • In short, you're asking whether it must be objectively new or subjectively new? That's an awfully interesting way to put it. (As per the wedding dresses - many places rent out wedding dresses, so it can be worn multiple times, but not by the same kallah. That said, I don't believe my sister said a Shehechiyanu at her chasunah, but that could be because it wasn't her dress, even though it was even objectively new.) – DonielF Jul 26 '17 at 3:33
  • AFAICT this is a question of community minhag, so the best person to ask is, as always, your local rov. Minhag Chabad, as I understand it, is never to make shehechyanu l'chatchila on new clothes – SAH Jul 26 '17 at 12:21
  • Also I'm pretty sure shehechyanu it is not made on new shoes by most people (although I have heard of some people making the "footwear bracha") – SAH Jul 26 '17 at 12:22
  • @DonielF The objective / subjective angle is not mine. Prior to viewing Dinonline, I would not have thought of it that way. However, dinonline is a reliable site, even if they are frequently terse. (I guess it depends on the question you ask and the feelings and time of the rav answering the question, that day.) But, their explanation of this question was quite detailed and provided various sources to support their opinion. – DanF Jul 26 '17 at 13:16
2

See here where the site enumerates shehechiyanu may be required for:

Important clothing such as a suit, tuxedo, expensive hat, or shtriemel can deserve a Shehecheyanu if the clothing brings joy to a person. Some have the minhag not to make Shehecheyanu on clothing at all. (Piskei Teshuvot 223:6.)

In a footnote, they quote a conflict regarding whether to even say shehechiyanu today:

Rav Herschel Schachter (min 30) quoted Rav Soloveitchik as holding that nowadays one shouldn’t say Shehecheyanu even on a new suit because it’s common to own multiple pairs and buy them frequently. Rabbi Yacov Kermaier writes that for someone who buys a suit once a year one should make a Shehecheyanu and if it’s more routine than that one doesn’t make the Bracha.

However, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Sefardi 47:6 writes that the minhag is to make Shehecheyanu on a new suit. Or Letzion (vol 3, pg 236) holds that one should make Shehecheyanu on a suit. Piskei Teshuvot 223:6, Halachically Speaking (vol 4, issue 3, pg 7), and Rivevot Efraim 6:308(3), 8:136 agree.Brachot Shir VeHaShevach 2:4 pg 36 writes that even a rich person who buys suits like he buys shirts and isn’t very excited from them should make the Bracha of Shehecheyanu because it gives him satisfaction to wear clothing that is presentable. However, if to him it’s like buying new socks then one should not make a Bracha. On pg 235 he quotes Sh”t Divrei Chachamim chap 15 #201 who quotes Rav Moshe Feinstein that one makes Shehecheyanu on an expensive suit.However, Aseh Lecha Rav (vol 8 pg 60) writes that one should make a Shehecheyanu on it even if one isn’t happy because most people would be happy with it.

It would seem from O.C. 223:3 that you would need to actually buy the item to make a beracha. Also, the focus is on whether the item is new to you and gives you joy. No matter whether someone else wore it previously.

בָּנָה בֵּית חָדָשׁ, אוֹ קָנָה כֵּלִים חֲדָשִׁים, אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה לוֹ כַּיּוֹצֵא בְּאֵלּוּ תְּחִלָּה, אוֹ קָנָה וְחָזַר וְקָנָה, מְבָרֵךְ עַל כָּל פַּעַם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ, וְלָאו דַּוְקָא חֲדָשִׁים דְּהוּא הַדִּין לִישָׁנִים, אִם הֵם חֲדָשִׁים לוֹ, שֶׁלֹּא הָיוּ אֵלּוּ שֶׁלּוֹ מֵעוֹלָם, וְלֹא אָמְרוּ חֲדָשִׁים אֶלָּא לַאֲפוּקֵי אִם מְכָרָן וְחָזַר וּקְנָאָן.

  • IMO new socks are far more exciting than a new suit. Suits are uncomfortable and restrictive. New socks make walking a pleasure. – Double AA Jul 26 '17 at 2:48
  • I also learnt that one should not make a shehecheyanu on shoes (at least leather shoes, and by extension any shoes) because a living creature (normally a cow) was killed to make them, and this death taints the joy. – Epicentre Jul 26 '17 at 5:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .