Sunshine to Celebrate the Sun
Birkat Hachamah - A Once in 28 Year Event 

By Shael Gelfand
Blue sky and sunshine greeted over 100 people who gathered at the Calgary Jewish Centre on the morning of Wednesday April 8 (14 Nissan) to celebrate Birkat Hachamah, the blessing over the sun.  The blessing takes place once every 28 years when the sun returns to the position where it was when first created, on the same day of the week and hour of the day.  The celebration was all the more festive as it happened on Erev Pesach.

Rab bi Menachem Matusof, executive director of Chabad Lubavitch of Alberta officiated at the ceremony. Cantor Alex Stein sang the blessings, the children lead the gathering in song, and Lance Davis, executive director of the Calgary Jewish Community Council greeted the gathered crowd.

Rabbi Matusof called the sun, “one of the most powerful creations of G‑d that G‑d has given us.”   He added that “while we bless the moon once a month which represents the ‘ups and downs’ of the Jewish people - at times it is light and at times it is dark, and our prayers say that we are going to be renewed like the moon - the sun is different.”  The sun is “the way it was created and it represents continuity, light, truth and the ultimate kindness of G‑d.”  

Special thanks to Leonard and Faigel Shapiro for their generous donation of gifts for the children and sun-caps for the adults.

The next Birkat Hachamah will take place in 2037 and with Hashem’s help we will all come together once again to celebrate.