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Shehecheyanu on pain relief device

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Rabbi David Sperling

Tammuz 24, 5780
Question
Hi there, We are during the three weeks, and I have received in the mail an acupressure mat to relieve my leg and back pains. I ordered it a few weeks back. I had actually been hoping to have this mat for about 5 years. Since I waited a long time and am so grateful to have it to relieve my pains, do I need to wait until the end of the three weeks to say shehecheyanu on it? Or is this something that this Bracha should not be said on, even if I was hoping to have it to relieve my body pains for a long time? Thank you so much,
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. You are correct in thinking that we do not generally say the Shehecheyanu blessing during the three weeks. Before discussing that question, let’s see whether you should say Shehecheyanu on acupressure mat at all. Many people are accustomed to limit their recital of this bracha, and only say it when buying very special new clothing. However, if you are truly happy at getting this mat (and it certainly sounds as if, for you especially, it is a note worthy purchase), then one should in fact say the blessing. What then is to be done with the fact that you received it during the three weeks? There are two options for you in this situation. Firstly, there is room to say that because you need to use this for health reasons, you may use it without saying the bracha at all (see Mishna Brura 551, 99). (Many Sephardi Rabbis, on the other hand, would rule to use it for health reasons, and even say the bracha in this case – Yalkut Yosef 557). If your happiness over owning the mat continues until after the three weeks, you could say the bracha after the Ninth of Av (Igrot Moshe, O.H. 3,80). Secondly, you could say the bracha on Shabbat (this is assuming that it is of permissible use on Shabbat). Even though there are opinions that hold that one should refrain from the Shehecheyanu blessing during these days even on Shabbat – the prevailing practice is to allow it. Blessings.
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