Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Happy Birkat Hachamah

No, seriously. Today is an anniversary of sorts. Not an annual anniversary (and yes, please excuse the redundancy) but rather today is a “bidecioctennial” celebration. The celebration of Birkat Hachamah, observed by Jews around the world as the anniversary of the sun’s sunrise position. The position in which it rose today.

The position it rises once every 28 years.

Today, according to The Talmud, the sun rose on the very first day that it could at the creation of the universe. That is, not on the first day because there was no Earth. And not on the second or third day either for that matter. But on the fourth day, when there was both a Sun and an Earth, the Sun rose on that day in the very same spot that it rose this morning.

And the Talmud tells us that it does that every 28 years.

Well doesn’t that beat all? From the New York Times:

“‘It is a milestone,’ Rabbi Metzger, now 43, said of the occasion, which occurs maybe three times in a lifetime. ‘It reflects the intergenerational passage of life.’ His father, Rabbi Alter Metzger, now 76, first participated in 1953, and his children will join in for the first time on Wednesday.”

“The service will be brief, Rabbi Joshua Metzger said — no more than half an hour. Wednesday also happens to be a busy day for Jews because Passover begins in the evening.”

Well now that’s true. Imagine having to go short on one religious celebration because it falls on the eve of yet another.

Let me try to relate to this as someone who still retains a residence in The South. This is sort of like going to one of those all-day NASCAR parties and then attending the races before or after, right?

Well, maybe not exactly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting and refreshing.