Just once in 28 years.
That’s how often religious Jews bless the sun.
While observant Jews bless their food before they eat it, bless first fruits of the season, trees, and guard the cycles of the moon “religiously” to mark their holidays, the Blessing of the Sun occurs only once every 28 years.
The event marking a natural and spiritual phenomenon for Jewish people, will happen on April 8.
According to tradition and (Chabad.org), the blessing of the sun marks the point in time when the sun returns to the exact point in the sky it occupied on the same day of the week during the creation of the world.
So this April, millions of Jews from all over the world are expected to gather to commemorate this day.
Sara Goldstein, a 26-year-old New Zealander will be one of the first to be able to fulfill this commandment this year. “To be the first to bless the sun is quite a privilege,” she said, predicting that thousands of backpackers from Israel along with members of the local community will gather in New Zealand to mark the date.
Reports Chabad.org –– Known in Hebrew as Birkat Hachama, the service consists of selections of Psalms and other biblical texts and centers around a blessing thanking God for “renewing the works of creation.” Another blessing thanks God for granting the opportunity to participate in the celebratory occasion.
The last time the blessing of the sun took place was in 1981, when thousands of people gathered in Brooklyn, N.Y., to join the late Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerso in the prayer service, which was interspersed with meditative song and lasted close to an hour.
A few days later, the Rabbi explained to his community about the significance of the solar cycle and pointed out that the sun presented an unending source of energy. If the United States in particular, he said, developed solar technology, it could be self-sufficient in its energy production.
Let’s hope this blessing sparks some serious solar energy projects to kick into action this year, in the Middle East and beyond. First up is ZenithSolar’s new solar farm to be inaugerated in Israel later this month.
[image via gaetanlee]