I love the Shehecheyanu prayer: Thank You, God, for giving us life, for sustaining us, for enabling us to reach this milestone moment. We say it at baby namings and weddings, at B’nai Mitzvah and Confirmation – at all the signature joyous events of Jewish life.
But it’s the other reason for saying Shehecheyanu that I really love: Firsts. The ultimate affirmation of hope and promise.
Consider how we say Shehecheyanu when we eat the first fruit of the session. I live in the peach state, South Carolina (don’t let Georgia tell you otherwise), and would argue there’s nothing better than a ripe, juicy, sweet peach. Mmmmmm…… But that’s not what you typically get with the first bite of the season. More likely it’s hard, it’s tart … yech, it might even be mealy.
But we don’t bless the best; that’s not what we do. We bless the first – and with it the promise that this is only the beginning; the best is often yet to come.