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Birkat HaChamah - Blessing the Sun

Blessing the Sun -

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The Vernal Equinox and the Crucifixion

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Birkat HaChamah

Is there any connection between the Birkat HaChamah (ברכת החמה) -- the "blessing of the Sun" that has been associated with the vernal equinox in some Jewish traditions -- and the crucifixion of Yeshua? According to the Talmud the Sun makes a 28 year cycle to "return" to the position that it was in when the Universe was first created (which they believe was on a Tuesday evening, based on the 4th Day account of creation in Genesis), and (perhaps due to ancient Babylonian influence), the sages wanted to commemorate this event.

Chametz

But didn't the Jewish sages regard Rosh HaShanah as the day that commemorates creation?  Yes (though technically it commemorates the creation of Adam on the Sixth Day). However, the six month difference is due to a Talmudic debate as to whether one counts from God's conceiving of the Creation (Tishri) or His actual act of Creation (Nisan).  This gets into the entire solar-versus-lunar issue regarding the Jewish calendar, and the subject quickly gets complicated. It is generally easier to regard the "blessing of the Sun" as a Jewish custom practiced by some Jews, rather than an established "law" in Judaism...

Generally the "blessing of the Sun" custom is commemorated with a sunrise service that includes the recitation of Psalm 90:17, Genesis 1:14-19, Jeremiah 31:34-39, and selections from the Hallel (praise Psalms). The culmination of all this is the blessed itself: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵיֽנוּ מֶלֶֽךְ הָעוֹלָם עוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית, (baruch attah Adonai Elohenu Melekh ha-Olam, oseh ma'seh v'reshit): "Blessed are you, LORD our God, King of the universe, who creates the work of creation." You can hear the audio of this blessing here.

It is intriguing to speculate that the blessing of the Sun might have occurred just before Yeshua was crucified.  If He was crucified on Wednesday (as some people believe), then this might have been the very day the ancient blessing was recited.  Even if it was a Thursday crucifixion, the association is there: the Sun is sanctified and blessed before the time that Yeshua went to the Cross as the sacrifice for our sins!  And recall how the sun was hidden from view -- darkness fell upon the earth -- at the time of the crucifixion itself. "And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst" (Luke 23:45). It was during these hours that the Son of Righteousness became sin for us! (2 Cor. 5:21)

Regardless of the possible connection with the crucifixion, I think it's fine to thank the LORD for the work of creation, especially if it commemorates a unique astronomical event or other natural wonder (e.g., the vernal equinox). If there is a crucifixion connection, of course, we have all the more reason to thank the LORD for the new creation given to us in the sacrifice of Yeshua as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!


Note:  It should be added that the Vernal Equinox (i.e., March 20th) does not always occur during the month of Nisan because of Jewish leap years and other factors...


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