New York – The Chevy Camaro LT2 Coupe is perhaps the most popular sports car of 2010. It is often purchased by balding men in their forties who are entering their mid-life crises. The most popular minivans in the United States are the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna. They are generally purchased by people with larger families. The different profiles of each one of the purchasers of these vehicles is significant. Why? Because it seems that each of these automobiles may have a different status in Halacha.
Firstly, an introduction.
Whenever we make a new and exciting purchase there are two possible brachos that may be recited. At times we recite a “Shehecheyanu” and at times we recite a “Baruch HaTov veHaMaitiv.” The Shulchan Aruch (OC 222:1; 175:4 and elsewhere) tells us that “Baruch HaTov VeHaMaitiv” is recited when someone else also benefits from the item. A “Shehecheyanu” is recited when only one person benefits from the item.
In our case of a Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, since the entire family benefits from the vehicle a HaTov VeHaMaitiv” would be recited, while with the Chevy Camaro LT2 the profile of our buyer would indicate that a “Shehecheyanu” would be recited.
But how about during the Three Weeks? May a car be purchased then? During the three weeks we try to avoid reciting a Shehecheyanu (See SA OC 551:17). The reason is that the words of the bracha indicate an expression of thanks for having allowed us to reach this “special” time. The problem is that the tragic loss of the Bais HaMikdash makes this time period anything but “special.” The Mogain Avrohom (551:42) explains that the idea of not reciting a shehecheyanu is because of the wording, and not because of the idea of mourning. He writes, “However, the reason is not on account of mourning, for we do not find that a mourner is forbidden in reciting a shehecheyanu.”
According to the Mogain Avrohom then, a Camaro LT2 Coupe may not be purchased after the 17th of Tammuz. An Odyssey and Sienna, however, may be purchased. This is so because the bracha on these cars is not a “shehecheyanu.”
Not everyone agrees with this Mogain Avrohom, however. The Maamar Mordechai (551:12) rules that the reason the blessing is not recited is, in fact, because of our mourning and pain. According to this view, the Sienna and Odyssey cannot be purchased either. Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal discusses the purchase of cars during the Three Weeks in his Igros Moshe (OC III #80) and rules in accordance with the aforementioned Mogain Avrohom.
What is interesting to note here is that the issue all the Poskim seem to focus upon is not the emotion that is felt in the purchase. Rather, their focus is upon the blessing itself. Indeed, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo 14:1) zatzal writes that the purchase in and of itself is not forbidden – it is the associated blessing.
This thought should give us all some pause. Often we may seem to ramble through our brachos when we recite them. The fact that Rav Moshe zatzal and the Mogain Avrohom forbid the “Shehecheyanu” but permit the “HaTov VeHaMaitiv” speaks volumes about the kavana – the intent that we must have in every word of the brachos that we recite.
This then might be a lesson we can all take to heart during this period. Words and Brachos do matter. We should focus and concentrate on the real center of it all – Hashem and the bracha in which we express our appreciation to Him. Everything comes from Him.
Most Meforshim explain that this is the real meaning of the words “Boruch attah Hashem.” It does not mean that we, mere mortals, are blessing Hashem. Rather, it means that we acknowledge that Hashem is the source of all blessing.
The author may be reached at [email protected]
What about a good used minvan?
Only if it has to be tested for shatnez
do i kiss the computer when closing it? it’s starting to look like a sefer.
I’ve never heard of anyone making a Brocha over any kind of car. What about a leased car? What about a German car – what Brocha would one make over one of those. Do we make any Brocha when we take that clunker to the crushing machine?
On an old car you make Boruch Shpetrani !!!
according to this logic if you buy an old beat up yeshivish car then you should make a ” boruch dayan haemes ” !
Does this apply to leasing a car too?!?
I wonder if this rabbi made a boirai pre hagafen before writing this .
It would be interesting to hear how if this psak would differ if there is a great deal (e.g. 0% financing) that expires before during the none days.
this is really timely and important advice . I often see people making all kinds of assorted brochos on their cars , I know a guy who got into the habit of making a boirei meoirai haesh on his car . just last week I saw somebody making a boirei minei mezons on his car . what a shame . now we know exactly what to make on each model .
In order to avoid all the aforementioned issues, just don’t buy any set of wheels during the 3 weeks. if at all possible.
I am no posek but when you buy a new house you have to make a shehecheyanu too but now in days that most people put down only 20% or less it is more owned by the bank then you so you most ask your rav if you still have to make a shehecheyanu the same thing should be by a car if you finance or lease it it is barely yours
How about if some1 totals a car, does he make a burech dayin huemes?
How about Borei Meorei Haeish on Wednesday? does he make a bruche “Oizer Dalim”?
If it’s a lemon then what brocho do you make?
There are many significant issues for shomrei torah and mitzvot to concern themselves with during this very important period leading up to Tisha Ba’av. Does rav hoffman have too much time on his hands or is this an effort at humor since I cannot think of a more trivial issue to be debating
this is a beautifully written article! kudos
one question , why doesnt one make both brachos when buying a oddysey?
BTW no tachnin tomm its my cars 3Rd yartseit
What about taking a car wash in the nine days?????????
Don’t you understand now its runing a special since less people buy so we have some overstock
We have purchased 2 cars during the three weeks. Not that we were waiting for that time to buy them but it happened to be that we needed the cars then. I know for the second one we asked a shayla if we could buy it and we were told yes but to make the sh’hechiyanu after Tisha B’Av IF we were so inclined.
Some make a bracha evry once in 28YEARS
Guys keep it up this is for the books, thes days are so sad and this made me laugh so much its good. Its even better for shushan purim. Amen
This is the way Rav Hoffman teaches halachos to people that may not necesarily be interested in halacha. The fact is that this article was pure Torah and that you went to this site to see other things and shtusim.. He taught you Torah and you made choizek oif him.. I know him to be a chashuva tamid chuchum and he is moiser nefesh for Torah all the time. Here too.
Reply to #25 and #31 When you wash your car in the Nine Days you should only use cold water and no shampoo except if you wash your car just before Shabbos starts. Also if you cleaned your car just before the Nine Days you should make sure to drive it for at least 30 minutes before the Nine Days start so that you are not driving a clean car during the Nine Days.
It’s kind of like the question once asked to a gadol: “If I benched hamapil, can I still watch TV afterwards if I don’t say anything?”
LOL! Great article.
Okay, you really got me laughing on this one! Truthfuly, are you allowed to laugh during the 3 weeks? Maybe ?I should ask a poseik hador.
What if the bochur who was driving without a license? Was it mutar for him to drive if he had had said tefilas haderech beforehand? Truthfully, in New York – and probally atlanta as well, and any other city that has crazy drivers, one should perhaps say tefilos haderech every time he gets into a car! Deffitintely, if he is traveling over the verizano! HOW ABOUT THIS? Is one allowed to daven mincha or shacharis or maarive while driving? If so, while he is driving south, must he turn and face east for shemone esrei>? good sheile, no?