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Shabbat Parashat Nitzavim Vayeilech 5777

Ask the Rabbi: Shehecheyanu on Shofar on Second Day

Rav Daniel Mann

Question: Why is it that at Kiddush on the second night of Rosh Hashana we require a new fruit in order to make Shehecheyanu but say Shehecheyanu before shofar-blowing of the second day without “help”?


Answer: Usually on the second day of Yom Tov (i.e., in chutz la’aretz), Shehecheyanu is recited at Kiddush even though it was already recited the day before, because we view the second day as based on doubt. In other words, we treat the second day as if it might be the correct day and thus the first day was incorrect and the Shehecheyanu of the first night was of no value. Therefore, it needs to be said on the second night. Rosh Hashana is somewhat different in that it was instituted more based on having two days of Yom Tov out of certainty (a concept often called yoma arichta = a long day). This certainty affects a few areas of halacha, not allowing us to employ leniencies that flow from viewing the second day as based only on doubt (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 600:1; ibid. 527:22). Some Rishonim suggest that due to yoma arichta, Shehecheyanu should not be said on the second day of Rosh Hashana since it was already properly, even in hindsight, recited on the first day. However, the more accepted opinion is that the second day was instituted with all elements of the first day. This apparently means that yoma arichta only strengthens the day’s practices and does not remove matters such as Shehecheyanu (see Tur, OC 600; Hapardes, Sha’ar Hama’aseh).

The Rosh (Rosh Hashana 4:14) recommended having a new fruit on hand to hedge our bets, so that even according to the opinion that Shehecheyanu is not called for due to the second day of Rosh Hashana, it is not l’vatala due to the fruit. However, it is not an absolute requirement, as both Ashkenazim and Sephardim rule that if one does not have a new fruit, he recites Shehecheyanu anyway (Shulchan Aruch, OC 600:2).

Regarding shofar, Ashkenazim and Sephardim, somewhat mysteriously, go in opposite directions. Ashkenazim follow the Rama (OC, 600:3) that regarding shofar Shehecheyanu is recited without the need for a new fruit (see Darchei Moshe, OC 600:2). Rishonim say that it is easier to recite it by shofar than at Kiddush (see Hagahot Maimoniot, Shofar 3:7), although the Mishna Berura does not understand why (see Sha’ar Hatziyun 600:5). The Minchat Shlomo (I:20) suggests that it is because regarding shofar there is a break in the yoma arichta, as at night the mitzva of shofar does not apply. Still, though, the Magen Avraham (600:3) and other important poskim recommend (as opposed to requiring when possible, as for Kiddush) for the ba’al tokeiah to wear a new article of clothing requiring Shehecheyanu and having that as his secondary intention while reciting Shehecheyanu on the shofar. Thus, it is not unanimous that there is a big difference for Ashkenazim in this regard between Kiddush and shofar. We agree that the more prevalent minhag is to not bother with the new clothing idea.

Sephardim follow the Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 3), that one does not recite Shehecheyanu for shofar on the second day, even though the Beit Yosef cites no reason other than minhag for shofar being less deserving of Shehecheyanu than Kiddush (see Aruch Hashulchan, OC 600:4). Interestingly, Sephardim do not suggest bringing new clothes or fruit to enable it (perhaps because it is less practical than at Kiddush). While Teshuvot V’hanhagot (I:347) says that a Sephardi ba’al tokeiah should recite Shehecheyanu if blowing in an Ashkenazi shul, we expect him to follow Rav Ovadia’s ruling that he should not (Yabia Omer I, OC 29). (An Ashkenazi in the crowd can do so.)

There is another comparison to pursue. On the second day of Yom Tov of Sukkot in chutz la’aretz, Shehecheyanu is not recited before taking the lulav. The distinction likely has to do with the possibility that Shehecheyanu of second night Kiddush covers it (Pri Megadim, EA 662:1) or the idea that Shehecheyanu can be said on lulav before Sukkot (Mishna Berura 662:2), so that the first day recitation sufficed.
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