06 Jul GETTING A NEW CAR DURING THE THREE WEEKS
The following question came before Reb Shmuel Darzi. A young man whose parents were not frum bought him a brand-new car and gave it to him during the three weeks. There are a few questions to discuss about this. Number one: What bracha does one make on a new car, Shehecheyanu or Hatov VeHameitiv? Number two: Do we make the bracha of HaTov VeHameitiv during the three weeks? Number three: can the gift recipient drive the new car and make the bracha during the three weeks, or should he wait until after the three weeks? If the person does drive it and the novelty will last until after the three weeks could he still make the bracha then? Number four: is there an eitzah that he should use the car for the first time on Rosh Chodesh Av if it falls out during a weekday since we have the minhag to make a Shehecheyanu on Shabbos during the three weeks.
The concept of Shehecheyanu during the three weeks is discussed in Shulchan Aruch 551:17 stating that one should not make a Shecheyanu on a new fruit or new clothing during the three weeks. On the other hand, if someone makes a Pidyon HaBen, he should say the bracha and not lose out on doing the mitzvah on time. The Mishna Brura says that the reason we don’t say Shehecheyanu is not because of aveilus, but rather because these are days of punishment and therefore it is not k’dai to say Shehecheyanu. The Gra and the Taz argue with this position, therefore on Shabbos we need not be machmir and one may eat a new fruit or wear new clothing and say Shehecheyanu on Shabbos. The Mishna Berurah says that putting on a new begged or eating a new fruit is only allowed on Shabbos that is before Rosh Chodesh Av, and during the nine days one should not make Shehecheyanu, even on Shabbos.
It would seem to be that in the scenario mentioned above, one would not be able to use the new car during the three weeks because it may not be used on Shabbos. One could argue and say that a car is different than other items since the novelty does not wear off, whereas eating a new fruit it is a one-time novelty. The problem with this reasoning is that clothing should be the same as a car since the novelty does not wear off with a one-time use, yet the Mishna Berura does not differentiate between clothing and a new fruit. Regarding waiting until Rosh Chodesh, the Shaarei Tzion 99 brings down Reb Akiva Eiger who says that Rosh Chodesh will have the same din as Shabbos. The question is, since we find that on Shabbos Rosh Chodesh one can’t say Shehecheyanu on a new fruit, how can someone say Shehecheyanu on a new car on Rosh Chodesh? The answer could be that it is davka regarding new clothing that it is forbidden from Rosh Chodesh and on, even on Shabbos, but eating a new fruit would be permissible on Shabbos, even after Rosh Chodesh. Maybe, when it comes to a new car, the din will be the same as a new fruit and we could be maikil. The truth is, we can say that davka a fruit, which is not a simcha gedola, would be permissible to eat on Shabbos after Rosh Chodesh. However, regarding a new car, which brings great simcha, it would stand to reason should not be able to be used until after the three weeks. Despite the fact that Shehecheyanu won’t be a problem, the fact that it brings great simcha is, and we know that mishenichnas Av mema’atin besimcha.
What bracha should be made on a new car? We know the rule that we say Shehechayanu on whatever item brings simcha to a single person. If the item makes more than one person happy, we say the bracha of Hatov VeHameitiv. In the event the person with a new car has a family, he would need to say Hatov VeHameitiv as is brought down in the Igros Moshe vol 3:80. May a person make the Bracha of Hatov VeHameitiv during the three weeks? Is it similar to Shehecheyanu or not? The Yaavetz and Sharei Teshuva 551:10 and Igros Moshe vol 3:80, among others say, that one may say the bracha of Hatov VeHameitiv during the three weeks. The reason for this is not that it is because of aveilus, but rather it is a zman of puraniyos, so it is not appropriate to say that we lived and arrived at this time of good fortune. However, the bracha of Hatov VeHameitiv is not saying that we are happy at this time, just on this particular good thing that happened, therefore one may say it during the three weeks. The Sefer Kara Olei Moed 2:5 and the Kaf HaChaim Hilchos Birchas Hayayin 175:11 say that during the three weeks, when one does not say Shehecheyanu, one should refrain from saying Hatov VeHameitiv on a second cup of wine. Although the bracha of Shehecheyanu is for a single person and Hatov VeHameitiv is for more than one person, both have the same restrictions during the three weeks. The reason we don’t say these brachos is because these are days of aveilus. Since the majority are meikil on Hatov VeHameitiv, one could be lenient, especially since the Gra and Taz argue regarding Shehecheyanu as well. It would seem that one can make Hatov VeHameitiv on wine on Shabbos even if it is Rosh Chodesh Av.
The Igros Moshe in vol 3:80 differentiates between a person who gets a car for pleasure and one who gets it for parnassa. If it is for pleasure, he should not use it initially during the three weeks since he will need to say Shehecheyanu. If someone gets a car or truck for parnassa, then it may be used during the three weeks and he will not make a bracha until after Tisha B’Av.
May we all be zocheh to say Hatov VeHameitiv upon seeing Eliyahu Hanavi and Mashiach, even during the three weeks!