|Ask Rabbi Simmons|
I would like to know the origin of the phrase "B'shaah Tova" said to a pregnant woman. Where and when did this phrase originate? How old is it and does it have a religious meaning at all?
The phrase "B'Sha'ah Tova" is usually followed with "U'Mutzlachat." Which means - "In a good and successful time.
This blessing is said for many happy occasions, such as: buying a new home or business, an upcoming wedding or engagement, etc.
The expression was used in "Midrash Rabba" Kohelet III, 1:6. However, as a blessing to people on happy occasions, it is a rather recent development. The expression and blessing started to be written in engagement contracts in the last few centuries. It is usually written in acronym form - "Bet Shin Tet Vav Mem."
However, there is no Halachic obligations to use this blessing, for any occasion.With blessings from Jerusalem,
Rabbi Shraga Simmons