- The Wall Street Journal on Birchas Hachamah. See the dispute about it between Rabbi Bleich and Dr. Sarna. A nice, and true, quote:
According to Rabbi Bleich, environmental concerns are "issues in and of themselves and are totally unrelated to the blessing of the sun." He sees the blessing as an occasion to acknowledge the wonder of God's creations, not a political statement. "I suppose you can connect anything," he says. "You can draw dots and lines; you don't have to be logical."
- DovBear on "the dirty little truth about the Sun blessing":
The upshot, unfortunately, is this: Our sun blessing this Wednesday will not correspond with any astronomical event.
And what of the precious idea that Birchas Hachama is a celebration of the moment when the sun returns to the spot where it was created?
Well, bad news, but that's bogus. too.
- Meanwhile, I've been blogging a bit about kiddush hachama on parshablog. And in one post, I wonder whether Modern Orthodox Jews (and indeed Jews in general) should say the bracha, or if it is a bracha levatalah, since among other reasons, they are not seeing the sun in its tekufah.
- This Chabad article attempts to address the Sun not being in the right place.
- Rabbi Chaim Brovender has a nice response to those who question whether one should make Birchas HaChama. The response, however, seems to me to be more along the lines of what determines hashkafa rather than halacha. And the year ending in 9 is not really a problem with the count. Anyway, here is the response:
- Rabbi Brovender has a followup video post on how and when to say Birchas Hachamah. He includes a discussion of the Aruch's position of the sun after three days of clouds:
- MOChassid on the phenomenon of Birkat HaChama. An excerpt:
First, this is more or less how I feel about the whole Birchas HaChamah spectacle. While I do fargin the oilam their expression of their sense of community, I don't really get all the fuss. As Ben Chorin suggests, this celebration reflects a consumer society with too much time on its hands. I've refused to buy any of the fifteen books that have been published (or even to read the articles in Mishpacha and oher magazines) because I have a hard enough time setting aside time to review the Haggadah and I don't have time for distractions. But, whatever.
- The Seforim blog on Birkat Hachama in the old Jewish cemetery of Frankfurt.
- Yeranen Yaakov wonders about the appropriateness of music for birkat hachamah.
- Other parshablog posts on Birchas Hachamah: Rav Ovadia Yosef on wearing sunglasses when glancing at the sun; Why HaChamah and not Hashemesh? Birchas Hahama after three days of clouds? Why you should glance at the sun, and not stare at it. And an earlier Birchat Hachamah roundup.
- Shirat Devorah has a statement from an ophthalmologist not to look directly at the sun.
- And via Shirat Devorah, Geulah Perspectives has a post on mentioning Rav Kaduri and a statement that "on the day of Birkas Hachama (this Wednesday) there will be a sign of מתיקות הדינים - sweetening of judgments." We will have to see. I don't think everything must be about the ultimate redemption. We can have a lot of fun, and earn a lot of sechar, along the way.