Thursday, April 2, 2009

The B'racha for "Bircas HaChammah"

There are various laws with respect to the recitation of "Bircas HaChammah" - "ברכת החמה". The blessing should be recited early in the day, if possible prior to the third halachic hour of the day - i.e. the latest time for the recitation of Shema (קריאת שמע).

Though there is a whole order - seder - סדר - of psalms and other sections from The Torah, which many recite for "Bircas HaChammah", in order to fulfill one's obligation, the person must recite the below blessing. The blessing may only be recited if the sun is visible. If - we hope hypothetically - the entire day is overcast, the blessing would not be able to be recited.

The Blessing for "Bircas HaChammah" (Blessing of the Sun) - ברכת החמה

ברוך אתה י-ה-ו-ה א-להינו מלך העולם, עושה מעשה בראשית:


Baw'ruch atta A-doe-nawy Elo-hei-nu Me'lech ha'Oh'lawm, oh'seh ma'asei v'rei'shees:

You, HaShem our G-d, King of the universe, are The Source of Blessing, Who Performs the Actions of Creation:

For those who wish to recite the whole order of prayers for "Bircas HaChammah", you can search for one, find it in Rabbi David Bleich's "Bircas HaChammah", or, im Yirtzeh HaShem, I will be able to post and/or link to the Tefillos.

In the Artscroll book of "Bircas HaChammah", the order of the tefillos is as follows:

The following is a list of the tefillos included in the Artscroll
"Birchas HaChammah" by Rav David Bleich:

1. Beings with "ויהי נעם" - Tehillim: 90; 17

2. Section of "Pasach Eliyahu" from the "Tikkunei Zohar" (17a)

3. Section from The Torah - Bereishis: 1; 14 - 19

4. Yirmiyahu: 31; 34 - 39

5. Tehillim: 136; 1 - 9

6. A special "לשם יחוד" - varying opinions regarding whether it's
recommended to say it or not recommended. (See Artscroll "Birchas

7. Tehillim: 84; 12

8. Tehillim: 72; 5

9. Tehillim: 75; 2

10. Malachi: 3; 20

11. Tehillim: 97; 6

12. Tehillim: 148; 1 - 6

13. The B'racha of "עושה מעשה בראשית"

14. The tefillah of "אנא בכח" (the tefillah that is also recited by
many before Shacharis and Mincha)

15. Tehillim - Chapter 67

16. Tehillim - Chapter 150 (recited by some congregations)

17. Tehillim - Chapter 8 (recited by some congregations)

18. Tehillim - Chapter 19

19. Tehillim - Chapter 121

20. Baraisa from maseches "B'rachos" (59b) the complete text in the
following section: "תנו רבנן: הרואה חמה...דתלת נגהי ארבע".

21. The section from "Perek Shirah" of the sun - beginning with "שמש
אומר" and quoting the sun's shirah - Chabakuk: 3; 11. Artscroll then
writes "ואומר" and includes the pasuk from Yeshayahu: 60; 1. I don't
think I've seen a "Perek Shirah" with the pasuk from Yeshayahu for the
sun, but maybe there's such a girsa, as it is included in Artscroll.
(I wonder if this pasuk is included in the Artscroll "Perek Shirah".)

22. The tefillah of "E-l Adon..."

23. The paragraph of "שמך ה א-להינו יתקדש... ועל מאורי אור שעשית,
יפארוך סלה"

24. Tehillim - Chapter 33 (recited by some congregations)

25. The entire עלינו tefillah.

26. Tehillim - Chapter 74 (recited by some congregations)

27. The paragraph of "אין כא-להינו" through "אתה הוא מושיענו" (recited
by some congregations)

28. The short tefillah of "רבי חנניא בן עקשיא אומר...יגדיל תורה

29. Kaddish D'Rabbanan

30. A special short "מודים" tefillah for Birchas HaChammah.

31. A special "ויהי רצון" for Birchas HaChammah.

32. "Adon Olam..." (recited by some congregations)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bircas HaChammah on erev Pesach - 12th time

Pesach (Passover) is the holiday that relates to the freedom of The Jewish People from bondage - we were freed from Mitzrayim (Egypt) on the 15th of Nissan in the year 2448 so that we would accept The Torah, which we did just over 7 weeks later, on the 6th of Sivan (which is the date for the holiday of Shavuos).

According to Rabbi David Bleich's book on "Bircas HaChammah" (92), if one were to extend the make-up of Hillel's calendar to the time of Creation, then the upcoming date of Bircas HaChammah would be the 12th time in history to have occurred on erev Pesach - the day prior to the date of our Redemption. In reference to the 15th of Nisan - the date of our Redemption from Mitzrayim - the pasuk (Shmos: 12; 42) mentions the word "שמרים" - "safeguarding" - two times - "It is a night of safeguarding" and "...safeguarding for all of The Children of Israel for their generations". I learned that the commentary "Ba'al HaTurim" - "בעל הטורים" says that there are two mentions of the word "שמרים" - "safeguarding" - as one of the usages refers to the future Redemption, concerning which the 15th of Nisan - the first day of Pesach - פסח - is an auspicious time for the future Redemption to occur.

We learn in The Torah that the month of Nisan is the first of the months. (Shmos: 12; 2) The fact there appears to be 12 occurrences of Bircas HaChammah - ברכת החמה - on
erev Pesach during the 6000 years of history perhaps can refer to the twelve months of the year, concerning which the current one can relate to Adar.

See part II tomorrow...

Bircas HaChammah - Erev Pesach - In One Week

"Bircas HaChammah" - "ברכת החמה" - occurs once every 28 years and is the time when the sun assumes it original place, as it was at the time of creation, this being the 207th time it will occur. However, the occurrence on erev Pesach, according to calculations, has occurred only 11 times, this time being the 12th and last time for this event to occur on this date prior to the Jewish year 6,000. I plan to be posting some Torah with relation to "Bircas HaChammah" and hopefully the tefillah as well, so stay tuned. However, perhaps each of these 12 occurrences can relate to a Jewish month of the year, this one being related to Adar. May we merit to see the Mashiach revealed to the world in this cycle of "Bircas HaChammah", if not earlier.