Passover eve is one of the busiest mornings of the Jewish year. This year for thousands it will be even more hectic as many will take time away from Passover preparations and make their way to open spaces ie. parks, fields and roof tops, to bless God for creating the sun. According to Talmudic tradition, every 28 years the sun's position in the sky is identical to when it was first created. While we can recognize the scientific inaccuracy of this understanding, its spiritual insight is a source of profound wisdom and inspiration.
Thousands will gather ,take a hurried glance at the sun-if,of course it is not overcast as it appears to be now as I write these words, and recite a blessing -"Praised are You....Source of Creation."
Why am I at my computer and not surrounded by hundreds of fellow Jews all chanting the blessing at this time? Clearly, the event is impressive, even memorable. It brings our people together and provides an opportunity for the experiencing of a profound spiritual sense of awareness of the grandeur and majesty of nature. We hopefully sensitize ourselves to recognize with utter gratefulness the gift of the sun and all of life's entire dependence upon it for survival and well-being.
My reservation regarding this ritual is connected to the natural likelihood of the rapid dissipation of this consciousness precisely because it is surrounded by so much spectacle and relegated to a one-moment experience in the context of an extended period of time. Like Mt. Sinai, with its thunder,lightening and other elaborate pyrotechnics, the sustainability of the impact is often limited. Considering that Israel only days after witnessing Sinai were quick to exhibit ingratitude and lack of faith,we can understand that built into the drama is the the tendency for the memory to recede when placed in a setting that is everyday-like and ordinary.
Let me quickly add that this blessing is a daily requirement which makes it ,I believe, a powerful instrument for on-going spiritual awareness that has the capacity to alter our perception of life and our response to it.
While there is always room for the sensational, I prefer the still, small, voice echoing in my mind as I awaken each morning, look out my window and am gifted with a vision of the sun's beauty and warmth, knowing that a Beneficent and Compassionate Reality has not only created this gift but sustains it and bestows its blessing upon us each day.
"Praised are You-I am grateful this morning as on all mornings- to the Source of Creation."Amen.
Moadim le-simchah-a joyful Pesach of sweetness and gratefulness.