The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Recognizing Creation - A Lubavitcher Pesach in Uman II

Erev Pesach we rose early for the special recitation of Birkas Hachama, a blessing on the sun said
only once every 28 years.

But first, a word from our sponsors

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 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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Anarchist Chossid said...

Dnepr. Not Dnipr. Yes, I know, Ukrainians pronounce it this way. They pronounce it wrong.

Have you had a chance to visit Dnepropetrovsk?

Mottel said...

I wrote Dnieper - the 'ie' an aproximmation of the Russien E. The Ukrainians don't mispronounce it by the way, thats their name for the river in their language!
Stay tuned for Dnepropetrovsk

Anarchist Chossid said...

Their whole language is one big mispronunciation.

Anyway, it’s Dniepr. Днепр. And in Ukrainian, it’s actually Dnipro (Днiпро). Vasiliy Gogol wrote: “Rare bird reaches the middle of Dnepr. Reaches — and plunges straight into the water.” Although my great-grandfather used to be able to swim across in one take.

Cool war song about Dnepr (obviously, it loses a lot in translation).

bonne said...

That third picture is really nice, it should be a painting.

shira0607 said...

Beautiful photos an post.

You might not consider yourself a spiritual person but your photos and posts exude soulfulness. As does the joy you exhibit when you mention your kallah!

le7 said...

Whew. I thought I was the only un-spiritual person here. After all the build up about Bircas HaChama I was sorely disappointed... at least next time I'll do it with my grandkiddies. (IY"H).

e said...

Yep, the Russians feel threatened when the Ukrainians have the horrible audacity to act as if they have their own language and actually begin to name their own cities, nye dai bog.

Anarchist Chossid said...

Cities built and named by Russians, on Russian soil, inhabited by Russian-speaking... Russians (or Ukrainians — but who cares?). They can have Western Ukrainian city names.

e said...

yep, there you have it folks, the Russian just can't "fargin" the Ukrainians their own little country.

Anarchist Chossid said...

Nope. I can’t fargin Ukrainians my OWN little country, in which I grew up (despite being born elsewhere, thank G-d), and which was turned into some gaudy monstrosity on all levels — from language to language to culture to language.

For the most part, Ukrainians are not even that much of a distinct nation or culture. They are somewhat of a mix-breed between Russians and Poles (again, I am talking about all levels, from language to culture). Only for political and historical reasons (originating in the consequences of WWI) was Ukraine formed and recognized as any sort of entity. In reality, Western Ukraine is very much Poland and Eastern — very much Russia. Whatever antisemitic Ukrainian poets may claim.

Mottel said...

Crawling Axe, while the majority of Ukraine's history may have be predominated by that of the Russians and Poles - thus resulting in a 'peasant' culture, language what have you for the Ukrainian national lists, you can not deny the existence of the Ukrainian language - an Eastern Slavic language. And let us not forget The Kievian Rus

Anarchist Chossid said...

I cannot deny existence of Ukrainian language, just like I cannot deny existence of about eighty language in the city of New Orleans. From linguistic point of view, Ukrainian is a hybrid of Polish and Ukrainian.

But you know — I will grant them their own language. Let them have it. But let them have it where people speak it natively — in Western Ukraine. In Easter Ukraine, the native language is Russian, and suppressing it for political reasons is just as bad as suppressing Ukrainian language, as it was done for the few centuries between Chmel’nitsky (yimach shmo) uprising until the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Kiev Rus was not Ukraine. Nor was it Russia. It was Kiev Rus. Then first Mongols arrived from the East and then Polish-Lithuanians arrived from the East. Ukraine that was born out of this has nothing to do with Kiev Rus — Novgorod and Moscow are much closer to it.

By the way, Kiev was founded as a city (raised from the level of a village) and as a dynasty by Vikings — the ancestors of Russian tzars.