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Shehechiyanu Blessing

October 25, 2011

The Shehecheyanu is a blessing said in thanks for life, for being sustained, and for letting us get to this holy moment. It is a blessing said over any new experience. Got a new pair of shoes? Say Shehecheyanu! Lost your first tooth? Shehecheyanu! First meal in a new home with your family? Shehecheyanu!

This is a popular tune for singing the Shehecheyanu blessing, written by Debbie Friedman:

The words are:

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha'olam
Shehechiyanu, v'kimanu, v'higianu, lazman ha'zeh.
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha'olam
Shehechiyanu, v'kimanu, v'higianu, lazman ha'zeh.
A-a-a-a-amen, amen!

The blessing can be translated a couple different ways, including:

Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has kept us alive and sustained us and permitted us to reach this moment. [A translation that keeps to a traditional understanding of the Hebrew, from The Jewish Catalogue.]
Blessed be the Eternal One, Source of Life, Who has given us life, helped us to grow, and enabled us to reach this moment. [An alternative translation that tries to make the English feel more contemporary, from How to Raise a Jewish Child.]

Hebrew for "blessed are You [,my God]." Introductory words to many Jewish prayers. Hebrew for "Who has given us life," part of a blessing thanking God for bringing us to a special or new moment. A language of West Semitic origins, culturally considered to be the language of the Jewish people. Ancient or Classical Hebrew is the language of Jewish prayer or study. Modern Hebrew was developed in the late-19th and early 20th centuries as a revival language; today it is spoken by most Israelis.
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