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July 7, 2015 / 20 Tammuz, 5775
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What A Difference A Day Makes
Rav Rules: First Sukkah, Then Zeman’
(Sukkah 56a)

On the first night of Sukkos, one recites two berachos at the conclusion of Kiddush: Leishev baSukkah and Shehecheyanu. Since Shehecheyanu is recited throughout the year, it is considered frequent compared to Leishev baSukkah (which is only recited on Sukkos). Rabba bar bar Chana therefore maintains that Shehecheyanu goes before Leishev baSukkah because of the general rule that tadir kodem – the more frequent mitzvah takes precedence (Zevachim 89a). The Gemara nevertheless rules like Rav that Leishev baSukkah goes before Shehecheyanu.

Dual Joy

The Rosh (Sukkahperek Lulav VeArava, siman 4) explains that we say Shehecheyanu on the first night of Sukkos for two reasons: 1) we are joyous at the beginning of the new festival, and 2) we are fulfilling the mitzvah of the sukkah for the first time. And this explains why we say Shehecheyanu last in Kiddush. The first berachah in Kiddush (“Es Yom haSukkos hazeh … mekaddesh Yisrael ve’hazemanim”) concerns the festival while the second berachah (Leishev baSukkah) concerns the mitzvah of sukkah. Since Shehecheyanu concerns the topic of both berachos, it only makes sense – argues the Rosh – to say it last.

In chutz la’aretz, where two days of Yom Tov are observed, Shehecheyanu is repeated during Kiddush on the second day because the second day is treated as though it is a safek yom rishon, possibly the first day.

Joy At Building Or At Dwelling

The Gemara (46a) says that one need not wait until the first night of Sukkos to recite Shehecheyanu; rather, one may recite it when one builds the sukkah. (The Shulchan Aruch [Orach Chayim 641:1] states, however, that our custom is not to recite it until the first night of Sukkos.)

According to the Rambam (Hilchos Berachos 11:9; Hilchos Sukkah 6:12), even if one recited Shehecheyanu when building the sukkah, one must repeat it during Kiddush on the first night of Sukkos. Why? Because the Shehecheyanu recited upon building the sukkah only marks the joy of the mitzvah of sukkah (reason #2). It does not mark the joy of the new festival (reason #1). Another Shehecheyanu is therefore necessary.

Reversing The Order

The Rosh argues that on the second night of Yom Tov, Shehecheyanu serves only one function – namely, it marks the start of the new festival. (In chutz la’aretz the second night is treated as though it is the first night of the new festival.) The mitzvah of sukkah does not require a Shehecheyanu on the second night because a berachah was already recited on the previous night and, as explained above, the Shehecheyanu on the sukkah may be recited even prior to the festival when there is no requirement yet to dwell in the sukkah. 

Consequently, the Rosh rules that the order of the blessings should be reversed on the second night of Sukkos. Since Shehecheyanu on this night only concerns the festival, it should be recited immediately after the berachah for the festival, before Leishev baSukkah (see Shulchan Aruch and Rema, Orach Chayim 461).

About the Author: RABBI YAAKOV KLASS, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com. RABBI GERSHON TANNENBAUM, rav of Congregation Bnai Israel of Linden Heights, Boro Park, Brooklyn, is the Director of Igud HaRabbanim – The Rabbinical Alliance of America.


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