HaChama Betkufata An Overview of Birkat HaChama – The Blessing of the Sun – and the year Solar Cycle Introduction On Wednesday. Birkat Hachamah vs. the Actual Date of the Spring Equinox .. If anyone is still interested in my article on Birkat Hachama (title is in the subject line of this post), . Birkat Hachamah (Blessing on the Sun): The existence of nearly all life on Earth is fueled by light from the sun. Some may call this phenomenon nature. We will.
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On April 8, erev the day preceding Passover, there will be the opportunity to perform a mitzvah that last presented itself in and will not occur again until That mitzvah is to bifkat Birkat HaChama, the blessing said when one sees the sun return to its original position, as it was during the week of Creation.
According to the Talmud in tractate Brachot 59bthis blessing is recited every 28 years, on the fourth day Wednesdaywhen the vernal equinox falls hacha,a Saturn. Really, the Talmud discusses tekufat Nisan, the beginning of the spring season in halacha Jewish lawwhich is several days after the astronomical vernal equinox.
According to the Creation account in the first chapter of Genesis, the sun was created on Wednesday. Since a solar year contains an extra quarter hachaama a day, each year the equinox occurs six hour later.
HaChama Betkufata: An Overview of Birkat HaChama ~ Hirhurim – Musings
It therefore takes four years for the sun to return to its position at the proper time. This is the same blessing recited when one sees lightning and other works of nature. However, because of the rarity of Birkat HaChama, additional prayers are recited to mark the momentous occasion. These typically include Psalms 19,and others. Also recited is a portion of the Talmudic passage from Brachot, which relates the source of the practice.
Various relevant Biblical verses are also said, though there is no set text.
The blessing is recited after the morning prayer service, optimally at sunrise. However, the prayer may be recited until the third hour of the day. There are those who permit the blessing to be recited until midday, though it would be preferable not to rely on this unless circumstances do not permit Birkat HaChama to be recited earlier.
If April 8 is cloudy, Birkat HaChama may still be recited so long as the form of the sun is visible through the clouds. If the sun is completely obscured, one should recite the prayers to mark the occasion, but not recite the blessing using the Name of God. A minority opinion permits the blessing to be recited even if the sun cannot be seen; in such an event one should consult their local rabbi for guidance.
Birkat HaChama should be recited outdoors, facing Jerusalem, east. Someone who is unable to leave the house, or who may be confined, may recite it from a window. This is true even on an airplane.
The mitzvah is optimally performed in a large group of people because of the principle that doing so is greater praise to God. This year, there is an additional wrinkle: Birkat HaChama falls on erev Pesach, Passover eve.
This is an uncommon, but not birkaf occurrence. It last occurred erev Passover in and before that in Because of this, the practice is for the congregation to not birkaat the entire text verse by verse as they normally would. Instead, only those verses that appear in the text prior to the blessing are recited verse by verse; those appearing after the blessing are recited individually. Additionally, on erev Pesach, a ceremony called a siyum, which marks the completion of a volume of Jewish learning, is typically held on behalf of the first-born males.
This siyum, which is typically held after the morning service, should be made after Birkat HaChama. There are other laws relevant for the optimum fulfillment of this rare mitzvah, though they would be beyond the scope of an article such as this. Readers are encouraged to obtain one of several works available on this subject or to consult their own rabbi for proper guidance.
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