Monday, April 13, 2009

Birkat HaChammah

Went to Morning Minyan at Beth Jacob. Usual service followed by a study of the laws of Birkat HaChammah to give the first-borns something they could make a siyyum for. Finally went outside, had a little custom service with Osheh Ma'aseh B'reshit at its center and the Beatles' Here Comes the Sun as its closing song. All issues of calendrical accuracy aside, it seemed just right for Minnesota this year.

A few bubbemeisses floating around. One says that Birkat HaChammah last coincided with Erev Pesach 500 years ago. Another that this happened at the Exodus, at Purim, and this year and these were the only three occasions. The truth: it last happened in 1925.

The MO world seems troubled by the idea that because the calendaring is off, this might be b'racha l'vateil, a wasted blessing. Because of my own belief about the nature of being and time, I don't think Oseh Ma'aseh BiReshit is ever a b'racha l'vateil. The process by which we move moment by moment into a world that reflects the results of whatever state-changes were effected in the prior moment is a constant miracle.

All the angst aside, I think it's cool that we have a religion that can think in terms of 28 year cycles for this, and 50 year cycles for the Jubilee. As Rav Allen said, may we all merit to see the NEXT birkat HaChammah.

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