Halacha for Thursday 25 Shevat 5780 February 20 2020

The “Mechaye Ha’Metim” Blessing

In the previous Halacha we have explained that one who sees a truly dear friend or relative after thirty days f not seeing him and is happy to see him recites the “Shehecheyanu” blessing upon seeing him.

The Gemara (Berachot 58b) states: “Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: One who sees his friend after thirty days recites the ‘Shehecheyanu’ blessing. If one sees him after twelve months, one recites the ‘Mechaye Ha’Metim’ blessing.”

We have already explained that reciting a blessing on a friend applies only when the friend is especially dear to one’s self and one is truly happy to see him. The same applies to the “Mechaye Ha’Metim” blessing after twelve months in that one should not recite this blessing on any friend; rather, it is only to be recited on a friend or relative especially dear to one’s self, such as a wife, son, daughter, and the like.

This blessing is quoted as Halacha in Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 225) and this blessing should not be discontinued. However, it is very uncommon for one to be able to recite this blessing, as we shall now explain.

The Difference Between the “Shehecheyanu” and “Mechaye Ha’Metim” Blessings
Hagaon Harav Eliyahu Hazzan was asked in his Responsa Ta’alumot Lev why it is no longer customary to recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing after thirty days and the “Mechaye Ha’Metim” blessing after twelve months of not seeing a friend. He replied that nowadays, when communication is so readily available through telephones, telegraph, and the many post offices present in every city, although one has not seen his friend, one can certainly be sure how he is doing by picking up the phone and the like. One therefore need not recite the “Shehecheyanu” or “Mechaye Ha’Metim” blessings. He adds that Maran Ha’Chida rules likewise in the name of his grandfather, Rabbeinu Avraham Azulai.

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l questions his words, for Hagaon Chida writes as follows: “I have heard that the ‘Mechaye Ha’Metim’ blessing recited after twelve months only applies when one has not had any written correspondence with one’s friend and did not know how he was faring; however, if the friend sent him a letter or if one was told that the friend was doing fine, one does not recite the ‘Mechaye Ha’Metim’ blessing.” He writes this in the name of his grandfather, Rabbeinu Avraham Azulai.

Clearly, Maran Ha’Chida’s words apply specifically to the “Mechaye Ha’Metim” blessing; however, the “Shehecheyanu” blessing must be recited even if one knows how his friend was doing. Indeed, the Responsa Halachot Ketanot (Chapter 220) clearly states: “It seems that the ‘Mechaye Ha’Metim’ blessing should not be recited if one has received a letter from his friend or if one has been notified by others that the friend is faring fine, for the verse ‘I have been forgotten like a deceased man from the heart’ does not apply here. However, the ‘Shehecheyanu’ blessing recited after thirty days which is recited the joy of seeing the face of one’s dear friend must still be recited.”

Thus, halachically speaking, one must recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing after thirty days even if one has spoken to one’s wife or close friend on the phone during the duration of time that they have not seen each other. However, the “Mechaye Ha’Metim” blessing should not be recited unless one has not seen or heard from a dear friend for one year which includes not hearing from mutual friends how the individual is doing. Nowadays, it is certainly quite uncommon not to hear anything about a close friend for an entire year, for technology is advanced enough that one will be able to find out some information about the friend. On the other hand, the “Shehecheyanu” blessing is much more common, as we have explained above.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Laws of Taking Haircuts During the “Three Weeks"

The Customary Prohibition of Haircuts As a result of the mourning observed during the “Three Weeks,” the Ashkenazi custom is to abstain from shaving and taking haircuts beginning from the Seventeenth of Tammuz until the Tenth of Av. The Sephardic Custom Nevertheless, the Sephardic c......

Read Halacha

Mourning Customs Observed During the “Three Weeks”

---------------------------------- By Popular Request: There is room for leniency regarding listening to music during the "Three Weeks" for those who are in isolation or quarantine in cases of need. This is especially true regarding young children and one must do one's utmost to lif......

Read Halacha

Eating Meat with Fish

Since we have discussed several laws related to eating meat and dairy in the previous days, let us now discuss some laws related to eating fish with either chicken or meat and other related laws. Fish Baked With Meat The Gemara in Masechet Pesachim (76b) states: “Regarding fish that was ba......

Read Halacha

The Prohibition to Eat Meat and Dairy on the Same Table

----------------------------- Correction: There was a typographical error at the end of yesterday's Halacha which stated that the prohibition to take haircuts and shave does not apply this year according to the Sephardic custom. Clearly, this is incorrect and all of the laws of the week durin......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Eating Meat and Dairy on the Same Table-Continued

In the previous Halacha we have explained that it is forbidden to eat dairy foods on a table on which meat foods are placed, for there is concern that the individual eating will taste some of the other foods on the table, thus having transgressed the grave prohibition of eating milk and meat togethe......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Glassware and Pyrex Regarding the Prohibition of Milk and Meat Mixtures-Continued

In the previous Halacha we have written that according to Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch, glassware does not absorb any flavor from foods placed in it and thus, there is no prohibition to use a glass vessel for meat and then after it is washed well, to use it for dairy (although the Rama does rule st......

Read Halacha

Question: Must one designate two different sets of glassware for dairy and meat as one would with other utensils?

Question: Must one designate two different sets of glassware for dairy and meat as one would with other utensils? Answer: We have already established in the previous Halacha that one is obligated to designate two separate sets of dishes and flatware for dairy and meat, for dishes used with either......

Read Halacha

The “Shehecheyanu” Blessing on a New Garment

Question: When is the appropriate time to recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing on a new garment, at the time of purchase or the first time one wears it? Similarly, must one recite this blessing for every new piece of clothing one purchases? Answer: The Mishnah (Berachot 54a) teaches us ......

Read Halacha