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Bracha on a Gift – Megillas Ester

Question:
My mother-in-law is giving me a gift of a beautiful Megillas Esther. Should I make the bracha of Shehechyanu since I have no plans to lain it in public and, so, no one else but i will have hana’ah from it? Or should I say Hatov v’Hameitiv, since she will have hana’ah from giving it to me?

Answer:

In fact it is questionable if a bracha should be made at all. The Magen Avraham 223:5 rules that upon purchasing new seforim one would not make a shehecheyanu as מצות לאו ליהנות ניתנו. He brings another opinion that one should make a bracha on such an acquisition. The poskim rule that because of the ספק one should not make a bracha [see m”b s”k 13 ibid.].

There are a number of reasons why שהחיינו may be warranted in this case. Firstly it is being given as a gift and not being purchased. It is an expensive item which brings great joy to the recipient. In addition one can and does fulfill the mitzvah of Megillas Ester in shul by hearing and reading along in a chumash. So this is more a gift that one enjoys, and not exclusively for the mitzvah.

In conclusion, one who would make a שהחיינו has what to rely on [Halichos Shlomo in the name of R’ S.Z. Auerbach]. Ideally one should purchase a new fruit of that season or בגד חדש which brings him joy, and make the שהחיינו on that, having in mind the megilla as well. If you are leining from the megillah you can have in mind the שהחיינו from the krias megillah for the megillah itself as well.

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