Celebrating Firsts with Shehechiyanu

Celebrating Firsts with ShehechiyanuShehechiyanu (pronounced sheh-heh-chee-yah-noo) is the Jewish blessing of gratitude reserved for the first time something happens — whether it is the first occurrence ever, the first in a long while, or the first in a year.


The Shehechiyanu blessing is recited on the first night of many Jewish holidays as well at lifecycle events (such as a baby naming or a conversion to Judaism). It can also be expressed when we experience something new — even something as simple as the first wearing of a brand new shirt.


Going out to PJ Library readers in the Egg Matza (5 to 6 Years) age group this past month (February 2015) is I Say Shehechiyanu, written by Joanne Rocklin and illustrated by Monika Fillipina.  This Jewish children’s book explores some of the many new experiences celebrated by a child in the course of a year — getting new shoes, eating pomegranate for the first time, winning a race, and observing each of the Jewish holidays —. This Jewish children's book explores some of the many new experiences

For small children and new parents, Shehechiyanu can get a real workout — after all, everything is new to baby or toddler. One of the gifts of parenthood is seeing the world anew through a child’s eyes at first solid foods, first steps, first tooth, first big-boy/girl bed, etc.


Life is full of firsts, and by saying the Shehechiyanu blessing we are expressing our gratitude for life itself as well as for the moments we experience being part of it.


Now matter how old you are, there is always room for firsts. You try it:


“Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe,
who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.”


Watch the view below to hear the Shehechiyanu blessing spoken in Hebrew:



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