Blessing the Sun

Our tradition is filled with blessings recited on  a number of occasions. These blessings known as "berachot hanehenin" or blessings of enjoyment are recited for example, when we see a rainbow, or if we see a marvel of nature, or when we eat different foods. They are opportunities for us to recognize God's role in creation and for us to give thanks.

A more unusual blessing occurs once every 28 years. The rabbis 2,000 years ago calculated that the sun appears in the sky in the exact same location as it appeared at creation. The rabbis determined that the sun reaches that spot on the first Wednesday of the month of Nisan. Whether that is scientifically true or not doesn't really matter. What matters is the rabbis' contention that we have to reenact or relive creation every 28 years. 

We are used to commemorating historical events through holiday celebrations - e.g., the exodus from Egypt, giving the Torah at Mt. Sinai. But creation, according to the Torah, is a theological event. God took us out of Egypt, God gave us the Torah, but God didn't create the universe for us. It can be argued that Rosh Hashanah is that holiday that celebrates creation because we say "hayom harat olam" - today the world was born. But the prayers that day focus on us - how will we change, how will we ask for forgiveness.

The blessing of the sun however, turns our attention to God and to the marvels of creation. The service includes psalms from the Bible and prayers which glorify God's powers. At a time of global warming and challenges to the environment, this 28 year service is even more meaningful.

We will have a study session and the blessing of the sun on Wednesday April 8 after our service at 6:45 am. This is the usual time for the study session for the first born. All are welcome at the Bresler House. In the mean time, please go to this website Ritual Well to find out more information about the blessing of the sun.