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Chapter 59: 1-3
Shehecheyonu and Hatov V'hameitiv

1. The following rules apply when a person hears favorable tidings from a reliable person who witnessed the matter or when he, himself, saw the matter. If the matter benefits merely the person himself, he should recite the blessing shehecheyonu. If it benefits others together with him, he should recite the blessing: Boruch Attoh A-d-o-n-o-i E-l-o-h-e-i-n-u Melech ho'olom hatov v'hameitiv. (Blessed are You, G-d, our Lord, King of the Universe, Who is good and who does good).

Hatov (who is good) implies benefit received by the person himself; v'hameitiv (and who does good), benefit received by others, as well.

If one cannot recite this blessing when he sees or hears about the matter because of the state of his body or the place he is located, he may recite the blessing afterwards. This law also applies to the blessing dayan ho'emes.

2. A person must also bless G-d, blessed be His name, for the bad [as implied by Deuteronomy 6:5]: "And you shall love G-d, your Lord, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might." Berochos 60b interprets that verse:

"with all your heart" - with both your inclinations, the good inclination and the evil inclination (i.e., as explained above in Chapter 31, [one must be infused with the love of G-d] even when he is involved with worldly matters, fulfilling [the instruction of Proverbs 3:6] "Know Him in all your way");
"with all your soul" - even if He takes your soul;
"and with all your might" - with all your money;
alternatively, the Hebrew, uv'chol m'odecho, rendered as "and with all your might," can be interpreted to imply an obligation to acknowledge G-d for any measure He metes out, whether it be a measure of kindness or a measure of suffering.

Which blessing should he recite? Upon hearing bad tidings, he should recite the blessing: Boruch Attoh A-d-o-n-o-i E-l-o-h-e-i-n-u Melech ho'olom dayan ho'emes. (Blessed are You, G-d, our Lord, King of the Universe, the true judge).

A person who hears a number of different tidings at one time, whether good tidings or bad tidings, can include them all in one blessing.

A person is obligated to bless [G-d] for the bad with full intention adn a willing soul, just as he blesses Him for the good, as [implied by Psalms 101:1]: "[For] kindness and for justice, I will sing to You, I will praise G-d" - i.e., for kindness, I will sing to You, and for justice, I will sing to You (Berochos, ibid.).

The servants of G-d, blessed be His name, regard evil with happiness and consider it to their favor, for they accept everything which G-d, blessed be His name, decrees upon them with love and faith to Him, realizing that everything leads to atonement for their sins. Thus, by accepting this evil, one serves G-d, and that service brings him joy.

3. If something good happened to a person or he heard good tidings, even though it appears that ultimately the matter will cause him harm - e.g., he found a lost object; however, if the king hears about it, he will expropriate all his property - he should, nevertheless, recite the blessing hatov v'hameitiv.

Conversely, if something bad happened to him or he heard bad tidings, even though it appears that ultimately the matter will benefit him - e.g., his field was flooded and his grain ruined, even though when the flood passes he will derive benefit, for his field will have been watered - he should, nevertheless, recite the blessing dayan ho'emes. [The principle is that] one recites a blessing for the present situation and not for what will be in the future.

   Shehecheyonu and Hatov V'hameitiv
Paragraphs 4-6
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Halacha-Yomi, Copyright (c) 2000 ProjectGenesis, Inc.

 






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