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What is Birkat Hachamah?

What is Birkat Hachamah?

An Overview of this Rare Blessing

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G‑d made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night . . . And it was evening and it was morning, a fourth day.—Genesis 1:16, 19

One who sees the sun at its turning point should say, "Blessed is He who reenacts the works of Creation." And when is this? Abaya said: every 28th year.—Talmud, Tractate Berachot 59b

Every 28 years the sun returns to the same position, at the same time of the week, that it occupied at the time of its creation—at the beginning of the fourth day of creation. A special blessing – called Birkat Hachamah, "the sun blessing" – is recited to mark this event. Due to the rarity of this event, this blessing is customarily recited amid large public gatherings of men, women and children.

This year, we will perform this special mitzvah on the morning of April 8This year, 5769, we will perform this special mitzvah on the morning of April 8 (the morning before Passover).

The blessing is traditionally preceded and followed by a short selection of Psalms and prayers.

The existence of nearly all life on Earth is fueled by light from the sun. Every morning without fail, the sun rises in the east and bathes us with its sustaining rays, causing flora to grow and, through the process of photosynthesis, providing oxygen for all fauna.

Some may call this phenomenon nature.

We will gather on April 8th and declare otherwise:

"Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who reenacts the works of creation."

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Anonymous La Spezia, Italy March 26, 2010

Thank G-d for the SUN Just going through all of these comments after one year I just realized how important this was for me. Last year I was in Jerusalem for this SPECIAL OCCASION and just realized in 2010 of how important this date was.
I would like to thank G-d for giving me this SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY which occurs every 28 years. I was also praying together with a very important. I WOULD LIKE TO THANK G-D FOR THIS. Reply

brian sandridge Simsbury, CT April 13, 2009

Tuesday's Gravity On the third day God said "Let the water below the sky be gathered into one area, that the dry land may appear".....On that same day He said "Let the Earth sprout vegetation..."Yet, as many clever disbelievers say, "Ha! How can you have plants without the sun? Plants need sunlight to do the photosynthesis!"
But, there was Light, it was diffuse and evenly dispersed.
To the point: How does the Land appear from the water? GRAVITY! Gravity was created and caused water to run down hill and alow the Land to appear. And gravity caused the condensation of the diffuse particles into greater and greater masses, until one day, a Wednesday it so happens, the internal gravitational pressure reaches the point at which nuclear fusion ignites! And the SUN is lit up, and so is the moon in its reflection, and the planets in its reflection, and the stars so far away also due to Tuesday's Gravity. Reply

Jonathan Johannesburg, South Africa April 13, 2009

CHABAB - MY SUN Every day I receive various emails from Chabad for which a huge thank you!! They are like the rising of the sun. I have learned so much from these over the years and Chabad really is "my sun" - a shining light.
May you go from strength to strength adding to the sun's light. Reply

margaretmiller N.C. April 9, 2009

sun I praise G-D for His greater liight and His light to us because in Him there is no darkness. We are to allow Him to let His light shine through us His people, to lift up His holy Name, and be pleasing to him, a sweet fragrance. Reply

Anonymous Scottsdale, AZ via jccaspen.com April 8, 2009

I am building the SolarPort, This is a PV equipped shade shelter which generates clean power and provides a respite from the sun for the cars parked underneath.

I am 72 years old and in 28 more years I would be 100 years old. So, I had better observe this ceremony! It will statistically be my last!

This ceremony will encourage me to thank G-d more often for the privilege of daily living in the glory of celebration!

Retired sheep farmer. Reply

Anonymous Copenhagen, Denmark April 8, 2009

bless the sun Blessed are You Lord our G-d , King of the universe - who reenacts your creation. Reply

Hadasah Chennai, India April 8, 2009

Here comes the sun! When Wednesday is Sunday You can look at the sun with your eyes closed. I do that every morning for 15 minutes. Because I spend too much time at the computer, my eyes need to be nourished. It's also very relaxing, leading one to prayer. I am 55 and don't wear glasses. THAT is the power of the sun that G-D gave us. So now a prayer to thank God for the sun, looking at the sun but with our eyes closed--showing that we are frail humans who can not look at G-D directly--only Moses could, no? But some day we will be able to look at G-D face to face with a steady gaze...someday... Reply

Anonymous via chabadberkeley.org April 8, 2009

It is a blessing to see the sun every day This time last year, was recovering from an illness that almost took my life! It is certainly a blessing this year to see the sunrise-but please know from one who truly knows-every day we are able to rise and see the sun is a blessed day-and one that certainly deserves our thanks to God!! Reply

Anonymous via chabadjacksonville.org April 7, 2009

Thank you to Chabad of Jacksonville, FL Education, enlightenment and Jewish unity is one of he achievments of Chabad Jacksonille. Thank you for being there! Reply

Anonymous April 7, 2009

YES! i am so loving it!!! what a great thing to do to acknowledge the wonders of G-d! Reply

Anonymous April 7, 2009

when was creation? Man was created after the sun; we don't know when creation occurred. How could we know the sun is in the same place? It stood still for Joshua so there must be some flexibility to its orbit. Blessing the sun based on its position in the sky on a certain day doesn't seem as important as being grateful to God everyday for His faithful provision. Reply

seena Bala Cynwyd, PA via chabadmainline.org April 7, 2009

Ahavas Yisrael!! To know that our people will be gathering all over the world at the very same time, for the very same purpose is a powerful thrilling sense of unity.....and to bask in the glory of our Creator and recite this unbelievably powerful blessing - it's a privilege for which I am deeply grateful to be alive. Reply

Brian S Simsbury, CT April 7, 2009

re: Anon Col.Springs By saying that the spring equinox is on or around March 21, and then assuminmg that that is the first of Abiv ()Nissan) would be correct IF Judaism uses the Solar Year as its calender; but we use the monthly calender, each new moon is a new month. Reply

Anonymous April 7, 2009

life I was not supposed to still be here at this time, but I am, so tomorrow is a special blessng for me and my family. Reply

James April 6, 2009

Just a thought............ Every year on the day of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year only, the sun shines into the deepest chamber of many ancient structures, and for millenia has been considered the day of rebirth. With that being the case, wouldn't it make sense that this particular day would be the first day? Do you start your work day with the fist ray of sunshine every day? Maybe G_d and those who did the work had to get things together before they lit the sun.
The best teacher/rabbi is forever a student being that no man knows all there is to know.
Something to consider, being that words are merely mans way of translating thoughts. I think the important thing to remember on a daily basis is that G_d created and loves all of humanity as well as His creation. Gen:26 Reply

Anonymous Colorado Springs, CO April 6, 2009

The beginning of the year It seems to me that when G-D created, for example, "there was evening and there was morning, the first day", that there was equal night and day, and thus the first day corresponds to the vernal equinox, the first day of spring, which then would be the first of ABIB, apporximately March 20 every year. With that in mind, and since at the first Passover, there was no tent of meeting or Temple yet, it was simply observed at home, then Pesach which was the day before yesterday, should include in our modern times the same elements as prescribed by G-D in the law given to Moshe, namely lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs, followed by a week of unleavened bread. I know the sages and rabbis differ in opinions, but they wern't around when G-D wrote the Torah, so maybe we should just believe what G-D wrote and leave it at that. Reply

rich April 5, 2009

I consider this a special mitzvah for us, as it's also our 25th wedding anniversary Reply

Moshe Vellvill Dallas, TX April 5, 2009

365.2422 days...14 mins less than 1/4 Rabbi Adah didn't account for the skipped leap days when divisible by 100, with a few exceptions. So, the solar cycle is not an exact 7 / .25 = 28....Should I care? Reply

Nelson Bank El Paso, TX via chabadsa.com April 4, 2009

G-d's Miracle Try to think of the Intelligence that allows us to see the sun every 24 hours. It is the same Intelligence that made our Earth come to be xx years ago, that created life on Earth, that allows us to become more sophisticated in Its Intelligence.
We are fragile, and must yield our aggressive innate tendencies to the unspeakable Planner, at least once every 28 years (if not every day of our lives). Reply

Jordan MN April 3, 2009

The Position Sorry, what I meant was that I read that the sun was in the same position in relation to the Earth on Birkat HaChamah as it was on the day it was created. I was not making fun of the practice or connecting it to worship, I was simply interested in how the sages calculated the position of the sun when it was created. I am familiar with the calendar but I just don't understand how they got it is all. Reply

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