Happy Sun Day

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Today, I learn from Ron Coleman, is the once-in-28-years recital of Birkat Hachama, the Blessing of the Sun, on the day when, according to the Talmud, the sun returns to the starting point in its cycle, the same place it was when it came into being on the fourth day of Creation.

As explained in the Talmud, there is a tradition that the Sun was created in its vernal equinox position at the beginning of the springtime Jewish lunar month of Nissan.[18] The sages of the Talmud settled disputes over the halachic definition of the vernal equinox by establishing it on March 25 of the Julian calendar. Because both the Julian calendar and Jewish tradition define a solar year as exactly 365.25 days, the halachic vernal equinox historically fell out on March 25th every year. This halachic equinox now falls about 17 days after the true equinox, with the error increasing by about 3/4 of a day per century.

In summary, Birkat Hachama is recited when the halachic vernal equinox (the position at which the Sun was created) occurs at sundown on a Tuesday (the time at which the sun was created).

The blessing to be recited at the sight of "the sun at its turning point" is "Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the Universe who makes the works of Creation."

According to Wikipedia, the service of observance includes the first six verses of Psalm 148:

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!

Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the LORD!
For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

The next occurrence is April 8, 2037.

Given that life would be impossible on Earth if the sun were closer, further away, or not there at all, the least we can do is to say a little prayer of thanks for its existence once every 28 years.

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1 Comments

Jeff Shaw Author Profile Page said:

That is the least we could do... I learn so much from your blog. Thanks for the post.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on April 8, 2009 5:19 PM.

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