Birkat Hachama – Jewish Thanksgiving to The Sun   Leave a comment

An interesting theory:

Today is Birkat Hachama, the Jewish celebration of the sun. The ceremony is a ritual of blessing the sun on a special day that is little known since it is celebrated only once in 28 years.
In Genesis, it is written: ”And God said, ‘Let there be light and there was light’ ” (1:16-19). Birkat Hachama is actually the most joyful of all Jewish ceremonies, made especially so because of the long time interval between one celebration day and the next. Today begins the 206th cycle of the sun since its beginning.
Because the sun and moon were created on the fourth day, the beginning of the 28-year cycle is always at the vernal equinox at 6 p.m. on Tuesday – the beginning of the fourth day – and so Birkat Hachama always occurs on a Wednesday morning when the sun is actually visible.
The Torah tells us that on day one, God created light and darkness. Where did that light come from if the sun was not created until day four? The Talmud explains that the luminaries were created on the first day but were not set in place until the fourth day. Why did God do this? To get the message across that the first spiritual light was created before the sun was positioned to teach us that light and all other natural phenomena are emanations of the creator’s glory.
Birkat Hachama is a special prayer in commemoration of the sun’s creation on the fourth day. The Talmud explains that on this day the sun returns to its original position where it was in Heaven on the fourth day of Creation. That was when God set the sun and the moon to “serve as signs for the seasons” (Genesis 1:14). So in a sense today, also the eve of Passover, is the season of seasons, the cycle of the birth of all our cycles.
The Jewish community worldwide is observing a range of planned celebrations, many of them focused on the environment. The blessing on this occasion, it would seem, is evocative rather than responsive. It is designed to rouse us from our lethargy, so that we can reflect upon this cosmic phenomenon, to begin contemplation. Marking yet another solar milestone in the calendar of eternity, the occasion calls out to us to be aware of the marvels of creation.
Of all the specific objects in our created world, the sun and planet Earth are the most crucial for the life and well-being of human beings. So a celebration of the sun’s creation is a good moment to ask ourselves: What have we done with the sun’s light, warmth and energy, in this past generation? And what do we intend to do in the next generation?
This is the first year after Shmita – in the Jewish tradition, every seventh year one stops all agricultural activities in order to let Mother Earth rest. This is a time to replant, to grow anew, and to bring fresh blossoms to the world. We are planting new seeds for a better future and for the renewal of the next 28-year cycle.
On this day, let us take a pledge to make a new beginning. To hand to the next generation an earth that is washed in sunlight, not poisoned by waste; to see in the sun’s light the light of knowledge and understanding. To feel in the sun’s warmth the warmth of the human community; to use through the sun’s energy the strength of the One who creates.

As written by Ezekiel Isaac Malekar.


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