Shehecheyanu: The Jewish Blessing for Firsts
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Shehecheyanu: The Jewish Blessing for Firsts
There’s a lot of emphasis in Judaism on stopping to recognize special moments. Some do this in the form of a prayer or a blessing for the first time they are doing something new. Take a moment to learn this prayer, so the next time you find yourself in a first, you'll know what to say.
The videos in the Lifecycles Series were made possible with generous support from The Koret Foundation, as part of their Initiative on Jewish Peoplehood.
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No matter what temper tantrum or adolescent rebellion marked the week that is past, we take a moment to place our hands on our children’s heads and to offer them words of pure love.
The blessing for boys derives from Jacob’s blessing to his grandsons, Ephraim and Menashe, who are the first pair of siblings in the Bible who love each other rather than fight each other. The blessing for girls invokes the memory...
Over the course of our Yom Kippur prayers, we recite the Al Chet over and over again.
V’al kulam, Elo’ah s’lichot, s’lach lanu, m’chal lanu, kaper-lanu.
“For the ways in which we have fallen short, oh God, forgive us, pardon us, grant us atonement,” we say. We take collective responsibility for our communal shortcomings, even for the ways in which we may not have failed...
There is no more fundamentally human act than breaking bread together. On Shabbat we use two, complete loaves of rich, braided bread to symbolize abundance and blessing.
When setting the table, set two loaves of challah on plate, cover with a cloth, and place either a shaker of salt or container of honey nearby.
Remove the challah cover.
Touch the challah or touch someone who is touching the...
Happy New Year! Traditionally, the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, is a time of introspection and reflection. How did we do in the past year? What are we hoping to change in the coming year? During this meal we will rejoice in being together, and think backwards on the year that was, and forward to the year that will be. Plus delicious food, puns, and casting off some bad karma. To a sweet new year!
We all have thoughts and feelings from the past year that we’d like to get rid of or forget. During tashlich, we take some breadcrumbs and sprinkle them into a body of water, symbolically ridding ourselves of the sins and bad feelings that have been weighing us down. Now we can go into the new year with a clean slate.
The World of Beriah (Creation) - Fruits that are entirely edible
[Refill the glass so that there is now half red and half white wine. Drink half or more.]
We drink our third cup of wine. We now have half a cup of red wine and half a cup of white - even though the trees will be full and green and their flowers will blossom; so much more is to come.
These fruits can remind...
The Yamim Noraim (Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur) are here. We’re tasked with reflecting on our lives and practicing teshuvah (returning). Through teshuvah we examine our actions over the past year, seek forgiveness from ourselves, others, and the Divine and dedicate ourselves to do better next year. These sacred days provide an opportunity to ask ourselves the hardest questions and explore all the...
The meal is coming to a close. But we’re not quite done yet. One of the most important parts of Rosh Hashanah is sounding the shofar. A ram’s horn makes a primal cry, and it speaks to something deep in our soul, waking up something inside us that was dormant, or asleep.
If you have a shofar, blow it now! If not, make some noise some other way. Belt out a song or try a primal scream. Do what you need to do to...
As the sun sets on Friday afternoon, we take some time out to feel gratitude and joy. Shabbat is about rest and rejuvenation, as well as appreciating all of the gifts—both sacred and mundane—that we enjoy each day. Take a few deep breaths. Close your eyes. Use this service to bring some joy, beauty, and peace into your weekend.