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Shehecheyanu on a talis?
MBY 22 Question: Is there an obligation to make the bracha Shehecheyanu when one puts on a new talis?
Answer: Perhaps, but let’s pause to briefly orient ourselves to this bracha - when it does and does not apply. The following are four criteria for the possibility of requiring a Shehecheyanu, along with the halachic status for each:
1) One acquires a new significant piece of clothing (or furniture) – (All opinions agree)
2) One creates a new mitzvah object – (Dispute among the authorities)
3) One performs a mitzvah which can be done only at rare intervals – (All opinions agree; however, this does not apply to a talis, which can be performed at any time!)
4) One performs a mitzvah for the first time in his life – (Dispute among the authorities)

So now, which of these criteria apply to our new talis?
#1 applies, assuming that the entire talis garment is a new acquisition; not if one bought new tzitzis strings to tie onto an old garment. (Note: Our practice, typically, is to make the Shehecheyanu on a new garment at the time we wear it for the first time, not at the time of its acquisition.)

#2 applies; however, as mentioned above, this criterion is disputed.

#3 does not apply, as stated above. It would apply, say, to the mitzvah of Lulav and Esrog, but not to tzitzis.

#4 applies, but only in the rare instance if a first-time tzitzis wearer – e.g. a ba’al teshuva (newcomer to Torah observance!)

Putting this all together, to answer our question:
- If he acquired a brand-new talis for himself, and it comes with tzitzis already tied on, he should make the Shehacheyanu at the time that he wears it for the first time.
- If he acquired the garment without tzitzis on it, and he is coming to tie them on himself, he should make the bracha at the time he ties them on. In this way, he satisfies both criterion #1 AND criterion #2 (according to those opinions that accept it.)
- If he is attaching new tzitzis strings onto an old talis garment, he should not make Shehecheyanu at all. (We do not rely upon #2 by itself.)
- Even a person who is wearing tzitzis for the first time in his life, should not make the Shehechaynu unless he is wearing a talis that he acquired for himself (#1) - i.e. he is not using someone else’s talis.

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