- Question: [Sunday, 8th Teves, 5783]
This past Thursday, in the swearing in of the new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, he opened his speech on the podium with the blessing of Shehechiyanu, with God’s name. My question is whether it was permitted for him to do so and if so if it was permitted for us to answer Amen to his blessing?
Yes, it was permitted for him to say the blessing in expression of his extreme joy in becoming prime minister, and hence all those who heard the blessing being said needed to answer Amen to his blessing. Those who listened in through a live connection are also to answer Amen, assuming there is no delay in their connection.
Explanation: One who receives sudden good news may recite the blessing of Shehechiyanu out of expression of his excitement and happiness. The same applies for relatives and friends who share in the excitement and would like to say the blessing out of expression of this joy. This, however, only applies if one is filled with an abundance of excitement and joy, otherwise, he is not to say the blessing. Accordingly, today it is customary to diminish the recital of such blessings , however, if one decides to do so, he may say it. Now, certainly becoming the leader of a country is a most joyous event that is shared by very few individuals, and certainly can justify the saying of the blessing of Shehechiyanu. For this reason, the correct blessing that should be said is Shehechiyanu and not Hatov Vihameitiv, as although there are other coalition parties and party members which are part of the new government, no one shares the privilege and joy of the seat of the Prime Minister.
Sources: See Seder Birchas Hanehnin 12:1 “All joy of the heart that comes to a person from the goodness of this physical world he is obligated to bless over, and if he does not have someone joint to him then needs to say the blessing of Shehechiyanu”; Luach 11:1; Michaber 222:1; P”M 222 A”A 1; Aruch Hashulchan 222:1; M”B 222:1 in name of P”M; Shulchan Hatahor 222:1; Ketzos Hashulchan 64:1; Piskeiy Teshuvos 222:1; 223:2 regarding winning lottery; See regarding saying Shehechiyanu versus Hatov Vihameitiv if there is no other person who is a partner in that same good: Mamar Mordechai 222:1; Kaf Hachaim 222:4