There are so many reasons to like the Sun: longer days, warmer temperatures, sunlight for my garden, etc. This year offers me a chance to appreciate the Sun from a perspective deep within Jewish tradition. In Jewish tradition, this is the year of Birkat Ha-Chammah—the Blessing for the Sun. This occurs every 28 years, and recreates the moment when God created the light and the dark. It turns out that my synagogue is planning an event next month that will link the ancient Blessing of the Sun to contemporary issues of sustainability in general and renewable (solar) energy in particular. I had never thought that renewable (solar) energy could have a spiritual component.
This year, the Birkat Ha-Chammah is Wednesday, April 8, 2009. So that morning at sunrise (that means about 6:30 am), my synagogue (Or Hadash) has planned a special service to recite the ancient blessing (Disclosure: I’m helping to plan it). We will be experiencing the appearance of the light from the dark, not unlike what occurred on the 4th day of creation. For those of us who have not read Chapter I of Genesis for a while, this is when God created the Sun (greater light) to rule over the daylight and the moon (lesser light) to rule over the dark.
The event will include some extra touches to raise awareness of sustainability and renewable (solar) energy (if all goes as planned and funding can be secured). Some of these extras include organic fair trade tea/coffee vs. regular coffee, sunflower bagels vs. regular bagels, and a sample solar light that participants can take home and put in their yards. These are the lights that recharge during the day in order to provide light during the night. I bought a set at Lowe’s last year and they are really cool. They throw off lots of light. I highly recommend them. Hopefully funding will come through for the extras. If not, the participants will still experience the power of the creation of the Sun.
So this should be one pretty cool service. I have never been known as a morning person. However, to commemorate a once in a generation event such as the Blessing of the Sun, I’ll be there.