Passover begins tomorrow night, as you probably know. But I was surprised to learn that there’s another Jewish holiday to celebrate tomorrow morning. Joyce Cohen of the New York Times reports:
Every day, the sun rises. But only once every 28 years does the sun return to the position it occupied at the same time during the week of its creation, according to Talmudic tradition.
This auspicious occasion is cause for celebration among many observant Jews, who will greet Wednesday morning with the Birkat Hachamah, or Blessing of the Sun.
Samuel J. Freedman’s “On Religion” column also discussed Birkat Hachamah on Friday. Today’s story lets you know where you can join in the celebration. And don’t miss this related article from April 1897 — posted as a .pdf file by the NYT — about a clash between “Policeman Foley” and a Rabbi who neglected to get a permit for his “ancient Talmudic ceremony.” Sample paragraph:
The celebration is a rather complicated matter to explain to anybody. Rabbi Klein’s knowledge of English is slight, while Foley’s faculties of comprehension of matters outside of police and park regulations and local events are not acute. The attempt of a foreign citizen to explain to an American Irishman an astronomical situation and a tradition of the Talmud was a dismal failure.
It gets better from there! Maybe newspapers would be in better financial shape today if their accounts of events were as colorful as they were in the nineteenth century. Speaking as an American Irishwoman, however, I have to say I’m happy some things have changed.