Q&A From the Bais HaVaad Halacha Hotline
A Point of Order
Dayan Yosef Greenwald
February 4, 2021
Q On the 15th of Shevat, I made a borei pri ha’eitz and then a shehecheyanu on a new fruit. Was this the correct sequence?
A The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 225:3) rules that when one obtains a new fruit, he should not make a shehecheyanu until he eats it. This is contrary to the view of the Vilna Gaon, who is quoted as saying that one should make the shehecheyanu upon seeing a new fruit, because he maintains that the bracha is on the new season rather than on eating the fruit. The Shulchan Aruch, however, holds that the bracha is on eating the fruit. The Ba’er Heiteiv says the Shulchan Aruch would hold that the shehecheyanu should be made after the ha’eitz, when one is actually ready to eat the fruit.
The Pri Magadim, though, says the Shulchan Aruch agrees that shehecheyanu is a bracha on seeing new fruit, but Chazal decreed that it should only be made when one actually enjoys the fruit. He therefore rules that the shehecheyanu should be made first, because seeing the fruit precedes its eating. He also says that making ha’eitz would interrupt between seeing the fruit and making shehecheyanu.
The Kesav Sofer (Orach Chaim 25) quotes his father, the Chasam Sofer, as ruling that the shehecheyanu goes first. He says this is different from making a bracha on a mitzvah, like lulav or shofar, where the bracha of the mitzvah precedes the shehecheyanu, because the shehecheyanu on a mitzvah is made on the experience of the time of year rather than the mitzvah act, and one could still make the shehecheyanu after the mitzvah, because that experience is ongoing. Because the bracha of shehecheyanu could technically be made later, while the bracha on the mitzvah must be made before the mitzvah is performed, the birkas hamitzvah goes first. But when eating a fruit, the shehecheyanu must be made beforehand, so ha’eitz does not take precedence over it.