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Why No Shehechiyanu on the Last Days of Passover?

Why No Shehechiyanu on the Last Days of Passover?

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The last days of Passover are the only Yom Tov days that we don’t recite Shehechiyanu. The simple reason is that all the days of Pesach are one long holiday. Since we can only recite Shehechiyanu over a new holiday—and the last days are not a new holiday—the prayer is included in the Shehechiyanu of the first days.

Would there have been something new about the last two days, we would recite Shehechiyanu.

What could have been new about these days?

The first is the miracle of the splitting of the sea. Perhaps this great miraculous salvation, which happened on the seventh day of Pesach, can be considered a reason to say Shehechiyanu. However, though it was arguably the greatest miracle we have experienced, the splitting of the sea is only the culmination of our Exodus from Egypt, and not a new event.

Another possibility is the last days’ connection to future redemption. The song the Jewish people sang at the sea, “Az Yashir,” contains prophecies of the future redemption. Also, the Haftorah of the seventh day of Pesach is the song of King David, ancestor of Moshiach, and it ends with blessings of Moshiach.

On the last day of Pesach, the light of Moshiach shines bright. The beautiful Haftorah is all about Moshiach.

Perhaps the last days’ connection to Moshiach should warrant the recital of Shehechiyanu.

But this is not the case because you only say Shehechiyanu over an event that has already happened. Secondly, reciting Shehechiyanu over the future coming of Moshiach—which we long for and has not come—may have the opposite effect, as it will depress us, instead of adding joy.

And it is the joy of the holiday that brings out the essence of the last days. With brotherhood, love and joy, we get a sense of what awaits us in the future, a taste of Moshiach.

May we finally merit the coming of Moshiach soon and have a good reason to say Shehechiyanu on these last days of Pesach as well.

Rabbi Yitzi Hurwitz—father of seven, husband of Dina, and spiritual leader at Chabad Jewish Center in Temecula, Calif.—has been rendered immobile by ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Unable to speak or type, he uses his eyes to write heartfelt thoughts on the weekly Torah portion.

Please support the Hurwitz Family Fund.
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