Do you need to say the Shehecheyanu blessing on a new nose mask
The Shehecheyanu blessing (Hebrew: שהחינו, “Who has given us life”) is a common Jewish prayer said to celebrate special occasions. It is said to express gratitude to HaShem for new and unusual experiences or possessions. The blessing is recorded in the Talmud, indicating that it has been recited for over 1500 years.
The Israeli Declaration of Independence was publicly read in Tel Aviv on May 14, 1948, before the expiration of the British Mandate at midnight. After the first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, read the Declaration of Independence, Rabbi Yehuda Leib Maimon recited the Shehecheyanu blessing, and the Declaration of Independence was signed. The ceremony concluded with the singing of “Hatikvah.
The “Shehecheyanu” Blessing on a New Garment
When is the appropriate time to recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing on a new garment, at the time of purchase or the first time one wears it? Similarly, must one recite this blessing for every new piece of clothing one purchases?
The Mishnah (Berachot 54a) teaches us that upon purchasing new garments, one should recite the blessing of “Shehecheyanu Ve’Kiyemanu Ve’Higianu La’Zeman Hazeh.”
Regarding when to recite this blessing, the Rashba writes that this blessing should be recited at the time of purchase and not when it is worn. Indeed, the Rosh writes that this blessing was enacted upon the joy one has at the time one purchases a new garment. Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 223) rules in accordance with this opinion that the “Shehecheyanu” blessing should be recited at the time of a garment’s purchase and not the first time it is worn.
Nevertheless, several Acharonim write that the prevalent custom is not to recite this blessing at the time the garment is purchased, rather, it is recited the first time one wears the garment at which point one is truly happy. Hagaon Rabbeinu Yosef Haim rules likewise in his Ben Ish Hai (Parashat Re’eh, Section 1) as does Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l. Since the recitation of this blessing is contingent upon the prevalent custom, one should not change this custom and recite the blessing at the time of purchase; rather, one should recite the blessing the first time one wears the garment in accordance with the custom of the entire Jewish nation.
Regarding which garments one should recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing upon, since the “Shehecheyanu” blessing was instituted upon one’s inner joy, one may only recite this blessing upon garments which usually bring joy to people. Additionally, in order to warrant this blessing, the garment must be innately important, as the Mishnah states that this blessing is recited upon “a new home or new garments” (although it is preferable not to recite this blessing upon a new home). We can infer that the garment must be important just as a house is. The great Tosafists derive from here that one should not recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing upon insignificant garments such as shoes or socks. Similarly, one should certainly not recite this blessing upon undershirts and the like, for such garments are not significant enough to require the “Shehecheyanu” blessing to be recited. It is indeed the prevalent custom to recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing only on important garments as opposed to shoes (refers to regular shoes which are not expensive and important in the individual’s eyes), socks, and the like.
Summary: One who purchases a new garment must recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing. The prevalent custom is to recite this blessing the first time one wears the garment. One should not recite this blessing on garments that are not so significant such as undershirts or socks. Similarly, one should not recite this blessing upon shoes that are not so significant or expensive.
One only makes Shehecheyanu on a garment that has a degree of importance. However, it does not have to be a very special garment, such as a suit, and if a person experiences joy in buying a nice (but not a very simple) shirt, he should say Shehecheyanu.
Authorities dispute whether the berachah of Shehecheyanu 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.
According to the Rosh, the Radvaz, and the Shulchan Aruch (223:6), a poor person, who experiences joy in purchasing simple items like shoes and socks, should make the blessing.
However, according to Tosafos (Berachos 59b), it appears that one does not make Shehecheyanu on something that is not objectively important, and this is the opinion of many Poskim, including the Terumas Hadeshen and the Rema (223:6), the Rema adding that this is the custom. This ruling is also stated in the Mishnah Berurah (223:24).
However, this does not mean that one can only make a Shehecheyanu on a very important item of clothing, that everybody will experience joy from. 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. Only on clearly unimportant clothes, such as socks and underwear, or simple shirts and the like, would one not make the blessing even when experiencing subjective joy (instead, one should thank Hashem in one’s own words, or say the blessing without mentioned the Name of Hashem).
So there we have it. There is an element of subjectivity to the question. If you treat the new mask-like socks, you can say a blessing without the name of G-d. If it brings you joy, because you feel the mask is saving your life, there is a support to make the blessing with the name of G-d.
If you feel the mask makes you sick and it brings you no joy, certainly do not mention G-d.
Tel Aviv Zoo’s New Kangaroo
The Ramat Gan Zoo was thrilled with their new acquisition: a kangaroo. They’d never had a kangaroo before so they had to set up a brand new enclosure. Unfortunately, the kangaroo kept getting out. Knowing that he could hop high, the zoo officials put up a ten-foot fence. He was out the next morning, just sauntering around the zoo. A twenty-foot fence was put up. Again he got out.
When the fence was forty feet high, a camel in the next enclosure asked the kangaroo, “How high do you think they’ll go?”
The kangaroo said, “About a thousand feet unless somebody locks the gate at night!”