Wednesday, April 8

Panorama photos: Atlanta Jews Bless the Sun

Rabbi Emmanuel Feldman, Rabbi Emeritus of synagogue Beth Jacob, enveloped in tefillin (phylacteries) and talit (prayer shawl), in preparation for the ceremonial proclamation of the blessing, along with the congregants. (All photos: Dave Bender)

Close to 1,000 members of several Atlanta synagogues celebrate the "Blessing on the Sun," Birkat Hahama, at Torah Day School Atlanta's sports field, Wednesday, April 8, 2009/Passover eve, 14th of Nisan, 5769.

Click on the photos to pan around a larger image.

(All photos: Dave Bender)

R' Feldman and worshipers who took part in the previous Birkat Hahama ceremony, 28 years ago. (All photos: Dave Bender)

Rabbi Emmanuel Feldman, Beth Jacob.
(All photos: Dave Bender)

Rabbi Ilan Feldman, Beth Jacob.
(All photos: Dave Bender)

(L-R) R' Adam Starr, R' Shmuel Koshkerman, R' Ilan Feldman, R' Emmanuel Feldman. (All photos: Dave Bender)


The fact that you're reading this article is a minor miracle. Think of all the things that needed to fall into place: the computer, the hard drive, the labyrinth of the Internet, the web browser -- even the electrical power driving it all.

There is incredible complexity built into the simple act of reading this article. And yet, we sit before these machines every day without giving them a moment's thought.

Until they stop working.

When that blue screen appears and the computer freezes, we hold our breath hoping that nothing has failed, that we haven't lost weeks of hard work. Only when we reset the computer and it functions properly again, do we let out a sigh of relief, return to work... and take it all for granted again.

The Talmud (Brachot 59b) teaches:

He who sees the sun at its season, the moon at its strength, the stars in their paths, and the constellations in their order, recites "Blessed is the One Who performs the act of creation." And when does this happen? Abaye says: Every 28 years, when the cycle returns and the season of Nissan falls in Saturn, on the fourth day of the week.

On April 8, 2009, the eve of Passover, Jews around the world will rise early, gaze at the sun and recite the least-frequently-recited blessing in Judaism: Birkat HaChama, the blessing on the sun. We recite this blessing once every 28 years, and it's coming to your neighborhood very soon. Assuming, of course, that the sun rises that fateful Wednesday the same way it has every day until now...

Read the rest.

Happy Passover!

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