I have a wonderful friend that is Jewish. She shares her faith with our online quilting community and teaches us some wonderful things. Many met in North Carolina last year and we come from all walks of life, different religious beliefes, different policital leanings but come together in a way that the nations of the world could emulate. She shared this wonderful story the other day with us.
This morning, Wednesday, Erev Pesach, join the world Jewish community in performing a rare mitzvah that only can be done every 28 years! Birkat HaChamah, “the Blessing of the Sun,” marks the day and time when the sun will be in the same alignment as it was it was when, according to Genesis 1:14-19, God created it on the fourth day of Creation. The Talmud (Berachot 59b) says: “Every 28 years the cycle begins again, and the month of Nissan equinox falls in Saturn on the evening of Tuesday, the night before Wednesday." Based on rabbinic calculations about when the world was created, this year marks the 206th 28-year cycle of the sun and the 12th time that Birkat HaChamah coincides with Erev Pesach.
The last time Birkat HaChamah took place, President Reagan was newly elected as President; the U.S. was fighting the Cold War against the Soviet Union; Kim Carnes, Lionel Richie, and REO Speedwagon topped the music charts; and, the personal computer, cell-phone, and I-pods were, at best, only twinkles in their inventors’ eyes! So, why don’t those of us old enough to have been alive recall hearing about Birkat HaChamah? Perhaps because we took the sun’s daily rising in the East and its bath of life-sustaining light for granted. Today, in contrast, the Jewish community is coming together around this rare opportunity both to promote appreciation for the wisdom of Judaism and to raise awareness of our world’s critical need to develop alternative energy technologies, such as solar energy.
Baruch Atah Adonai Elohaynu Melech Ha'olam, Oseh Ma'asey V'raysheet. Blessed are You, Adonai, our G-d, Creator of the Universe, who fashions Creation. May you be en-lightened by this experience and bring light into our world through your participation! Chag Sameach!