Ethics

For the week ending 24 April 2004 / 3 Iyyar 5764

A Mixed Blessing

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: A woman who had suffered greatly from a bad marriage finally succeeded in ending her misery through divorce. As soon as she received the long awaited "Get" document of divorce she happily made the blessing of "Shehechiyanu". Should the witnesses and rabbinical judges present say "amen" to such a blessing?

Answer: Although we see that this blessing is said on holidays when eating a new fruit or wearing a new garment we only find that it applies to expressing appreciation for the good that one receives and not for the elimination of a bad situation. Just as it is not appropriate when being freed from prison to make such a blessing, the woman escaping the "imprisonment" of bad marriage must express her gratitude to Heaven in some way, but not through this particular blessing reserved for happy occasions with no background of tragedy.

It is therefore obvious that those hearing this blessing made in an improper occasion should not respond with the "amen" intended for properly pronounced blessings.

(From the ruling of Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein, rav of the Ramat Elchanan community in Bnei Brak)

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