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Thought for the Day: שהחיינו On First Use of a New Becher (Kiddush Cup)

My becher -- the one that I made (and therefore does not require a ritual immersion since it was never owned by a goy; woo-hoo) -- arrived yesterday, so I am am looking forward to Shabbos even more than usual.  I am particularly looking forward to making kiddush with my new becher.  (Did I mention that I actually made it?)  Ok, ok... you really want to see it?  Here:
My Becher (Did I mention that I made it?)
Volume = 10 oz
As I realized how much joy I was going to get using my new becher (that I made) for kiddush, I thought, "Hey!  I bet I should make a שהחיינו!"  After all, this certainly is a new vessel whose first use will bring me a lot of שמחה and it is not something I acquire frequently (this is the first and very likely only time I will do this).  Seems to fit the criteria.  Yes, yes, I know that we usually translate כלי as "garment" vis a vis שהחיינו, but frankly, I usually do not make a שהחיינו on a new suit.  A suit is just clothes and I really couldn't care less whether it is new or not.  True enough that I get less nagging and eye rolling from my family when I replace a thread bare suit with something new, but removal of annoyance is not the criteria for making a שהחיינו.

I mentioned my line of reasoning to my chavrusa, who replied, "Did you ask anyone about this?"  Of course I planned to ask R' Fuerst, but I has questions on details of implementation, not on whether it made sense.  "It's just," continued my chavrusa, "I've never heard of anyone making a שהחיינו on a new becher."  That, in fact, is a very good argument.  I am usually quite nervous about having a great idea that is absolutely obvious... but that no one does.  Apparently my joyous anticipation was clouding my judgement.

So I did call R' Fuerst.  I even called early enough that I didn't get the usual, "One minute, other line."  One my first inquiry, R' Fuerst said that we don't make a שהחיינו on a new becher.  "But," I persisted, "Did I mention that I made it myself I am made is specifically for this purpose?"  "If it gives you a lot of שמחה, then you certainly can make a שהחיינו."  When I added that I will certainly get more שמחה from this than a new suit, he just laughed.  (Apparently even R' Fuerst has noticed that I am not such a snappy dresser.)

Next question was when to make the שהחיינו.  Usually one would make the שהחיינו immediately after kiddush, but here the שהחיינו is on my personal joy, not on the holiday.  R' Fuerst said either before kiddush or after drinking the wine is fine; no real difference.  I persisted... after all, I want to make the שהחיינו in the best possible way.  I thought that before seemed most logically best... usually we want the bracha before the action.  However, R' Fuerst noted that we make a שהחיינו on a garment (for those of you who enjoy that sort of thing) after wearing it and experiencing the new pleasure.

That's it, then.  Tonight I am planning to inaugurate the Holy Sabbath by opening a nice bottle of wine, filling my becher (did I mention that I made it?) to the top, make kiddush, drink, share it with friends and family... and then make a joyous שהחיינו.

One more thing, since I will be making kiddush for others and they will obviously also be experiencing שמחה, I asked if I should make a הטוב והמטיב.  The rabbi wasn't buying that one.


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