Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Now click on the link and enjoy!
The event, attended by over 125 local Jews, was held on the bank of Dnieper river.
Walking to the river bank for the blessing.
The crowd reciting the blessing
Sunrise on the Dnieper
Much has been written in the JBlogoshere about Birkas Hachama . . . My personal experience was nothing over the top - in general I am not a spiritual person. There was something about those fleeting moments in which the blessing was said, that did fill me with certain, rather cerebral, awe. The next time this happens, I'll be middle-aged . . . though Male Pattern Baldness, thankfully, does not run in my family, who knows what I'll look like then. Where will my life have taken me, and what unkown things does the One of Ancient Days have in store for me?
Before Yom Tov, various blogs (I link to one of such blogs for demonstrative purposes only) had been abuzz about the purpose of Birkas Hachama - casting aspirations on the validity of a blessing said based on ancient, and seemingly in accurate calculations.
To be frank, I rarely visit that element of the Jblogosphere - my style and personal direction don't tend to intersect with theirs - and I have no desire to argue in the complexities of Astronomy vs. Rabbinic Apologetics and what have you. Even more so, in light of the fact that the event Birkas Hachama transpired over two weeks ago.
I wish not to engage those that closet themselves in the bombastic tours of frigid thought,
For the curious, however:
Much has been made that our celebration of the Vernal equinox when it falls out on the eve of the Sun's creation is based on Tekufat Shmuel. A calculation that approximates the length of the year to 365 1/4 days, and thus one that does note coincide with the 'true' equinox on the eve of March 20, and thus an entirely arbitrary date. In truth the Sages of the Talmud did posses a far more exact estimation of the year's length - the 365.2468 one of Rav Adda.
Tzvi Freeman over at chabad.org has a wonderful explanation as to why we choose Tekufat Shmuel over that of Rav Adda - see there at length.
The Torah endows the Jewish people with an amazing ability. We have the ability to effect the vary fabric of the Torah itself. Every Rosh Chodesh, new moon and thus new month, is a sacred day.
Based on Biblical law, when the Temple stood, the new month was sanctified on the visual testimony of witnesses. What if the witnesses erred and the Sanhedrin, the Supreme court, declared the day Rosh Chodesh when it in fact was not? What if even more, the testimony was purposely falsified?
The day remains Rosh Chodesh, with all the various commandments associated with it required by Jewish law.
Though by all physical calculations the new month has yet to begin, the beis din, has the power to cause the spiritual revelations on high to be manifest down here on the date they declare.
The blessing on the sun, though celebrating a physical event, is one that is spiritually accomplished, and thus physically as well, based on the calculations of Rav Shmuel.
A child among the rocks of life, nestled by the stream of conscious on the river of thought
Mother Russia and her legacy
For those of you who have contributed so far to the wonderful Pesach abroad, I thank you. The costs that I laid out for are not yet met, however in their entirety, so if you are able to contribute - be it only a few dollars - please do so!
Stay tuned for Part 3 - the Seder Night in Uman!
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Posted by Mottel at 6:51 PM