Background. 2

Redemption in Birchat HaChama. 5

Nisan 14 Events. 11

The Service. 11

Birchat HaChama Service. 12

Cycles Of Twenty-Eight (28) 15

The meaning of twenty-eight. 15

Twenty-eight as four times seven.. 16

In the Alefbet. 16

In the cycle of the moon.. 16

In the menstrual cycle. 17

In human gestation.. 17

In the orbit of Shabbtai 17

In the Torah and Tanach.. 17

A Perfect Number.. 19

In the Nazarean Codicil 19

Other Indicators. 20

Other Erev Pesach Events. 21

Conclusion. 21

Bibliography. 22

Appendix A: 22

Appendix B: 23

Appendix C: 24

 

 

In this study I would like to look at a blessing The Blessing Of The Sun - ברכת החמה - Birchat HaChamawhich we say once every twenty-eight years. The blessing of the sun, Birchat HaChama[1], or Kiddush HaChama. While we call it the blessing of the sun, what we mean is that we bless HaShem for the sun.

 

In the beginning of the Torah[2] we learn that the sun is one of the luminaries that is used for signs, and for appointed times. Since the festivals are also used for appointed times, we can understand the greatness of the luminaries.

 

Birchat HaChama is definitely one of the rarest blessings that Jews make on a regular basis. Because of it’s rarity, and because it comes in a multiple of seven (7 * 4 = 28), it must have a significance that is not always recognized.

 

Birchat HaChama is said in every year that is divisible by 28 +1. Birchat HaChama will be said in the Hebrew year 5769, because 5769 is divisible by 28 +1.

 

Since the next Birchat HaChama will be completing the 206th cycle and beginning the 207th cycle, it follows that the Hebrew year should be 206 x 28 + 1 = 5769! Why the +1? This discrepancy arises because the order of creation was suspended during the flood. All cycles are thus divisible by 28 with a remainder of 1.

 

When will Birchat HaChama next be said?

 

Birchat HaChama was last said on Nisan 8, 5741 (corresponding to April 8, 1981). This was the 205th 28-year cycle of the Sun. It will be said again on  Nisan 14, 5769 - April 8, 2009, at sunrise. We say this blessing in a hakhel year (the year of congregation), that is, the year following a shmita year. The Torah speaks about the hakhel year:

 

Deuteronomy 31:10-12 And Moshe commanded them saying, At the end of every seven years, in the Shmita year, during the holiday of Succoth. When all of Israel come to be seen by God in the place that He will choose, you shall read this Torah before all of Israel, that they hear it. Congregate the people,

1. the men,

2. the women,

3. and the children,

4. and the strangers (converts)

that live within your borders, so that they shall hear and learn to fear God, your God, and they shall observe and perform all the words of this Torah.

 

We recite Birchat HaChama every fourth hakhel year. Thus we have four cycles of seven years. Hakham Yitzchak Ginsburgh puts this into perspective for us:

 

“As noted, the blessing of the sun is recited every fourth Hakhel year, stressing its connection to the fourth part of the Jewish people, the converts. The commandment of Hakhel, of gathering the entire Jewish people (men, women, children, and converts), required that the king recite from the Torah before the congregation. Indeed, King David himself, who is destined to be the Mashiach, was the great-grandson of Ruth, the Moabite princess, who converted to Judaism. Ruth is considered the mother of all righteous converts and the sages learn many of the laws of conversion from her.”

 

Birchat HaChama will not be recited on erev Pesach again in this world. That makes the blessing, this year, quite unique! It will never again be said on Erev Pesach.

 

The blessing of the sun is the same blessing (same words) that we say when we see lightning and a shooting star. Think about it.

 

This year, Birchat HaChama will be said four days after Shabbat HaGadol. On this Shabbat we read the special Ashlamata (Haftarah) of Malachi 3:4-24. This Ashlamata speaks of “The great and terrible day of HaShem” (3:23). Further, these pasukim tell us that:

 

Malachi 3:20 But unto you that fear My name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in its wings; and ye shall go forth, and gambol as calves of the stall.

 

This Ashlamata will still be in our ears when we recite this very special blessing. As we recite, we will also be remembering that the Prophet was prophesying, at this time of the year, that we should expect the great and awesome day of HaShem.

 

Finally, part of what makes this year’s Birchat HaChama so exciting is the fact that Pesach falls on the same day of the week (Wednesday evening) as it did in the days of the Exodus from Egypt. This means that Pesach this year lines up, day by day, as it did the seven days of Pesach in the days when Moshe Rabbeinu took klal Israel out of Egypt.

 

Background

 

Birchat HaChama is a Hebrew phrase which literally means “the blessing of the sun”. The popular Hebrew word for sun, shemesh, appears over one hundred times in the Tanach[3]; its synonym, chama (chama means hot), appears only six times:

 

Iyov (Job) 30:28 I went mourning without the sun: I stood up, and I cried in the congregation.

 

Tehillim (Psalms) 19:6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

 

Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs) 6:10 Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?

 

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 24:23 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when HaShem of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.

 

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 30:26 Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that HaShem bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.

 

In each of these pasukim we see the sun used in a way that is not consistent with the normal use of the sun. This suggests that our blessing has a non-normal meaning that needs to be explored. By the way chama is the term most often used in the Mishna. We will try to look a bit at some of these perspectives, but I am getting a bit ahead of myself.

 

Once every twenty-eight years, the Sun returns to the position it occupied when it was created at the beginning of the fourth day of creation:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 1:16-19 And God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night and the stars. And God placed them in the sky of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from darkness; and God saw that it was good. And it was evening and it was morning, a fourth day.

 

Our Sages used this opportunity to institute a special prayer acknowledging HaShem's might and His creation of the world. This blessing is known as the blessing on the sun, or Birchat HaChama.

 

Every twenty-eight years, the sun is said to be at full-strength in the month of Nisan, precipitating the special blessing said at this time. It is part of Halacha (Jewish Law) to say Birchat HaChama in Nisan, on a Wednesday (the fourth day of the week), at dawn, in all years that are a multiple of twenty-eight plus one (there was no year zero).

 

Birchat HaChama is always recited in the first year (or eighth year, depending on your perspective) of the Shmita cycle. This makes sense when you consider that twenty-eight is a multiple of seven. Birchat HaChama was last recited on: Nisan 4, 5741 (April 8, 1981). The next occurrence will be on: Nisan 14, 5769 (April 8, 2009). This is the eve of Pesach (Passover). The eve of Pesach is also known as the fast of the firstborn. The firstborn fast on this day to commemorate the fact that they were spared when HaShem slew the firstborn of Egypt.

 

Nisan 14 is arguably one of the busiest day (see the chart at the end of this study) of the year as Jewish homes are converted from using chametz (leaven) to a chametz free kitchen. The men are burning the last of the chametz and those outside Israel will be preparing an Eruv Tavshilin[4] in order to prepare food for Shabbat. Additionally, we are preparing food and haggada’s for the seder. Hopefully we have already retrieved our seder plates and Pesach dishes. Birchat HaChama simply adds to this very busy day.

 

The following table lists the dates for Birchat HaChama:

 

April 7, 1869

Nisan 26, 5629

April 7, 1897

Nisan 5, 5657

April 8, 1925

Nisan 14, 5685 – Erev Pesach

April 8, 1953

Nisan 23, 5713

April 8, 1981

Nisan 4, 5741

April 8, 2009

Nisan 14, 5769 – Erev Pesach

April 8, 2037

Nisan 23, 5797 – Yovel year[5]

April 8, 2065

Nisan 2, 5825

April 8, 2093

Nisan 12, 5853

April 9, 2121

Nisan 21, 5881 – 7th of Pesach

 

As the sun and moon were created on the fourth day (Tuesday sundown till Wednesday sundown - see BARA), the beginning of the twenty-eight year cycle (machzor gadol, or machzor chama) is always on a Wednesday[6] which begins at the vernal equinox (tekufot) at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, when the sun is in the exact alignment it was at the moment of creation.

 

The Midrash details the command to make a blessing when the sun returns to it’s place:

 

Midrash Rabbah - Leviticus XXIII:8 And now men see not the light (Job. XXXVII, 21). It was taught: If one sees the sun commencing its new cycle, the moon, the stars or the planets re-entering their periodical orbits, he should say, ' Blessed art thou... who hast made creation.’

 

The Talmud details the command to make a blessing when the sun returns to it’s place:

 

Berachoth 59b Our Rabbis taught: He who sees the sun at its turning point[7], the moon in its power, the planets in their orbits, and the signs of the mazzaroth in their orderly progress[8], should say: Blessed be He who has wrought the work of creation. And when [does this happen][9]? — Abaye said: Every twenty-eight years when the cycle begins again and the Nisan [Spring] equinox falls in Shabbtai - שבתי (Saturn) on the evening of Tuesday[10], going into Wednesday.

 

This Baraita describes when to say the Birchat HaChama, and also indicates its background. Chazal (our Sages) had a tradition that the Sun was created at the vernal equinox position (when day and night have equal length), at the beginning of the night of the fourth day, in year one of our counting. They realized that as the year has 365.25 days, and twenty-eight quarters of a day make one week, it follows that once in every twenty-eight years the equinox should be at the same time on the fourth day of the week, at the same hour.[11]

 

As the sun and moon were created to rule the day and night respectively (Bereshit 1:16), they are necessarily endowed with the attribute of power (cf. Sabbath Liturgy).

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 1:14 And God said: ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; 15  and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth.’ And it was so. 16  And God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; and the stars. 17  And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18  and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. 19  And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

 

In this passage, however, ‘the moon in its power’ may have a special significance, because at the, tekufah of Nisan the spring tides are greatest, owing to the combined action of the sun and the moon in conjunction, on Rosh Chodesh, the new moon. The moon in its power has the power to cause tidal extremes (a fact known to Pliny and Aristotle, and referred to by Maimonides[12], although never directly mentioned in the Talmud), is therefore best seen at this time.

 

The cycle begins again, in a Great Solar Cycle, for a Shmuel, or Julian, year to consist of 365¼ days or fifty-two weeks and ¼ day, every tekufah occurs 1¼ days later in the week every consecutive year, so that after four years it occurs at the same time of the day but (1¼ X 4 =) five days later in the week. After twenty-eight, or four times seven, years, the tekufah will recur not only at the same time of the day, but also on the same day of the week[13] - the fourth day of the week.

 

For reference I have included the following chart to show that the fourth day of the week in the day of creation for the sun, moon, and stars:

 

The Days of Creation

A 3rd

Day

 

God

created

dry

land

 

God

created

plants.

A 2nd

Day

 

God

separated

waters

above

from

Waters

 below.

One

Day

 

God

created

the

heavens

and earth

and

separated

light

from

darkness.

The

7th

Day

 

 

God

Rested.

The

6th

Day

 

God

created

beasts.

 

God

created

men.

A 5th

Day

 

God

created

birds

and

fishes.

A 4th

Day

 

God

created

the

sun,

moon,

and

stars.

 

Please observe that the days of creation have an obvious pattern as we noted in the study titled: BARA.

 

On the first day, G-d created light and on the fourth day He created the heavenly bodies which give light.

 

On the second day, G-d separated the waters above from the waters below, and on the fifth day He created the birds that “swim” in the waters above and the fish that swim in the waters below.

 

On the third day, G-d created the dry land and plants. On the sixth day He created the animals and man who live on the earth and eat the plants.

 

Thus the fourth day automatically creates a cycle that takes us back to the beginning on the first day. So when we say Birchat HaChama on the fourth day of the week, every twenty-eight years, we are acknowledging the sun’s return to it’s original position at the time of creation, and also acknowledging the cycle that takes us back to the first day of creation.

 

What will I see on Nisan 14, 5769 when we do Birchat HaChama? From the sun’s point of view, nothing unusual will happen. The Sun will set as usual on Nisan 13, and will rise as usual on Nisan 14, G-d willing. We will probably not be able to note that it has returned to it’s point of creation. The Sun, moon, and planets, however, will be back in the same positions and same order as they appeared at creation. This is their order at creation, on the fourth day of the week[14]:

Shabbtai – Saturn

Tzedek – Jupiter

Ma’adim – Mars

Chamah – Sun

Nogah – Venus

Kochav – Mercury

Levanah - Moon

 

During the first hour of that night (at the creation, and subsequently, every twenty-eight years), the planet Shabbtai is visible, because the planets' order according to the nights is as listed above.

 

Redemption in Birchat HaChama

 

The blessing of the sun takes place in Nisan because this was the position of the sun at creation, but there is much more to the timing then meets the eye. The Talmud tells us that Nisan is the month of redemption. Not just in the past or in the future, but, EVERY Nisan contains the power of redemption:

 

Rosh HaShana 11a It has been taught: R. Eliezer says: In Tishri the world was created; in Tishri the Patriarchs were born; in Tishri the Patriarchs died; on Passover Isaac was born; on New Year Sarah, Rachel and Hannah were visited; on New Year Joseph went forth from prison; on New Year the bondage of our ancestors in Egypt ceased; in Nisan they were redeemed and in Nisan they will be redeemed in the time to come. R. Joshua says: In Nisan the world was created; in Nisan the Patriarchs were born; in Nisan the Patriarchs died; on Passover Isaac was born; on New Year Sarah, Rachel and Hannah were visited; on New Year Joseph went forth from prison; on New Year the bondage of our ancestors ceased in Egypt; and in Nisan they will be redeemed in time to come.

 

Thus it is no accident that Birchat HaChama is performed in the month of our redemption. Birchat HaChama is a part of our redemption. Redemption’s purpose is to return us to Gan Eden, to the state we had before Adam’s sin. Further, Nisan contains Pesach, the festival of our redemption, the festival that begins our journey back to Gan Eden, to the promised land!

 

Birchat HaChama celebrates the renewal of the sun in the same way that kiddush Lavanah celebrates the renewal of the moon. Nisan celebrates the beginning of the renewal of spring, the picture of redemption. Therefore, as the path of the sun is being renewed, life on earth is being renewed.

 

The GRA writes in his sefer Safra D'Tzinusa: " ... one year during which redemption can come, and that is the year after the Shmita year (this year - 5768), for that is when the Chesed is revealed in the ‘mouth’ of Yesod, and that is when Mashiach comes ."

 

Kadosh Elyon,[15] author of Meir Enei Chachamim, wrote in his sefer that there are only three times in the 6,000 years of Jewish history, when Birchat HaChama falls on 14 Nisan. These are:

 

The actual Document from the Kadosh Elyon.1. Prior to being redeemed from Egypt. Birchat HaChama prior to being redeemed from Egypt was Nisan 14, 2437 and on Nisan 15, 2448 at midnight Israel left Egypt. Erev Pesach, is the day that we slaughtered the god of the Egyptians (a lamb).

 

2. Prior to the miracle of Purim. (Birchat HaChama prior to the miracle of Purim was Nisan 14, and Rashi writes that the following year, in Adar, the miracle occurred.)[16] It is worth nothing that Mordechai and Esther were fasting on the 14th, 15th, and 16th of Nisan to prepare for Esther’s plea before King Achashverosh.

 

3. In the year 5769.[17] It is worth nothing that 5769 is the eighth year, the year after the Shmita.

 

About Nisan 14, 5769 (April 8, 2009), He writes,

 

"This will be last time ever and shortly afterwards, the Geulah, redemption, MUST come.”[18]

(See also Appendix C)

 

(For more insights on the connections between Purim and Pesach, see R2R.)

 

Since the first two occurrences preceded miracles and redemption, the Admor wrote that in the year 5769 the same will occur: This will be last time ever and shortly afterwards, the redemption must come, Baruch HaShem!

 

Eliyahu Kitov, in The Book of Our Heritage, hints as to why Kadosh Elyon would make this statement when we saw earlier that the blessing has taken place more often on erev Pesach:

 

Although we ordinarily say that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, anyone who has actually observed the rising and setting of the sun knows that where the sun rises and sets depends on the time of year. At tekufat Tammuz [the summer solstice] the rising and setting of the sun are at their northernmost point; from tekufat Tammuz until tekufat Tevet [the winter solstice] the sun rises and sets further to the south each day, whereas from tekufat Tevet until tekufat Tammuz the sunrise and sunset move to the north. The midpoint of the sun's southward journey is tekufat zodiacTishre [the autumn equinox] and the midpoint of its northward journey is tekufat Nisan [the spring equinox]. The interval between a phase of this cycle and the corresponding phase of the next, for instance, between one tekufat Nisan and the next, is of course, the solar year of [approximately] 3651/4 days, which is 52 weeks and an additional 11/4 day.

 

Because of the additional 11/4 day, the tekufot move forward from year to year. For example, if in a particular year tekufat Nisan, not the whole day of the equinox, but the precise moment of the midpoint of the sun's northward journey, is at noon of the first day of the week, then the next year it will be at 6:00 P.M. of the second day of the week, the following year at midnight of the third day, and so on. After 28 years, the tekufot will have advanced exactly 35 days, that is, five whole weeks, and will occur on the same hour of the day and day of the week as in the first year.

 

There is a dispute in the Talmud as to whether the Creation took place in Nisan or Tishre, and the halachah that we recite the blessing in Nisan is based on the opinion of R. Yehoshua, who holds that the Creation took place in Nisan. However, all agree that the sun was placed in the firmament in the first hour of the evening of the fourth day of the week [Tuesday night]. According to R. Yehoshua, this was at tekufat Nisan; thus every 28 years thereafter tekufat Nisan is at the first hour of the evening of the fourth day of the week [Tuesday night] and the sun is where it was placed when it was created; thereupon a new cycle begins. All agree, also, that the sun first rose in the skies of the Land of Israel twelve hours after it was created, that is, in the first hour of the morning of the fourth day, and it is then that we say the blessing.

 

The beginning of the solar cycle always occurs in the month of Nisan, and on the same day of the week [Tuesday night] although not always on the same day of the month. Sometimes it occurs at the beginning of the month, sometimes in the middle, and sometimes at the end. Only once in 532 years does the cycle begin on the same day of the month as it did at Creation. (This suggests that it is an even longer period till it occurs also on erev Pesach) However, we do not take this into account for Birchat HaChama, since the day of the month is determined by the moon, whereas the sun alone determines hours, days, and years. Therefore, a new solar cycle is considered to have begun when the 28 years have elapsed, and it is our duty to praise the Creator as if it were the day of the sun's Creation.

 

The Hebrew year 5769 (2009) will mark the completion of two hundred and six solar cycles, and in Nisan of that year, we will once again have the privilege of reciting the berachah. Although twenty-eight multiplied by two hundred and six equals 5768, our Sages explained that the natural order of the world was suspended during the year when the Flood occurred.

 

Thus we see that of Kadosh Elyon’s statement that it has only occurred twice, may pertain to the 532 year cycle that Eliyahu Kitov mentioned. Thus when the Jewish people were in danger of being completely destroyed, HaShem delivered them with mighty miracles. Thus we experienced miracles in both of those times, once at Pesach and once at Purim. This suggests that the third occurrence will also be accompanied by miracles.

 

Finally, 3403 and 2453 are both possible Yovel (Jubilee) dates. It could be that the Kadosh Elyon’s statements suggest that 5769[19] may also be a candidate year for a Yovel year. Thus there is a further connection to ‘redemption’ as Pesach, Purim, and Yovel are all intimately bound up with redemption.[20] (See R2R.HTML.) Please note that Just because the command for the Yovel had not yet been given when the Exodus took place, never the less Chazal teach that Yovel preceded the command as did all of the other festivals. For further study look at my study titled FEASTS.

 

Birchat HaChama falling on the day before (erev) Pesach is a rare event, having occurred only three times since creation. A person would be very fortunate to bless the sun on this fortuitous day. Because we were redeemed from Egypt on Pesach, Nisan 15, to say the blessing as we are preparing for departure from slavery, suggests that HaShem is preparing us for something related to redemption, renewal, and creation.

 

The Mekabel Avraham Azulai, the grandson of the Chida HaKodesh, says in his sefer,[21] that at the latest, in the year of 5769 since the creation of the world, the following two passages will be fulfilled:

 

Zechariah 13:2 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith HaShem of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered; and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.

 

Leviticus 26:6 And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid; and I will cause evil beasts to cease out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.


In other words, the latest date possible that all impurities will cease in the world is at the end of 5769. But, I digress …

 

Birchat HaChama is in honor of the sun’s return back to its original position that it began from during the first week in creation. Therefore, it too represents the power of hitchadshut, renewal, and therefore, of redemption. Thus, in 5769, on Erev Pesach, the very night that we are doing our bedikat chametz (searching for leaven), we will experience a double portion of hitchadshut, of the power of renewal, and during the eighth year of a Shmita cycle that has its own power of redemption built in. (5768 is a Shmita year, thus 5768 is the eighth [or first] year.)

 

Why did the Men of the Great Assembly make the seventh blessing, in the Amida, about redemption?

 

Megilah 17b Raba replied: Because they [Israel] are destined to be redeemed in the seventh year [of the coming of the Messiah], therefore the mention of redemption was placed in the seventh blessing. But a Master has said, ‘In the sixth year will be thunderings, in the seventh wars, at the end of the seventh the son of David will come’? — War is also the beginning of redemption.

 

Another interesting aspect of Nisan 14, 5769, is that Mashiach ben David will arrive at the end of a seven year cycle, according to Chazal in the Talmud:

 

Sanhedrin 97a ‘Thus hath R. Johanan said: in the generation when the son of David [i.e., Messiah] will come, scholars will be few in number, and as for the rest, their eyes will fail through sorrow and grief. Multitudes of trouble and evil decrees will be promulgated anew, each new evil coming with haste before the other has ended.’

 

Our Rabbis taught: in the seven year cycle at the end of which the son of David will come-in the first year, this verse will be fulfilled: And I will cause it to rain upon one city and cause it not to rain upon another city;[22] in the second, the arrows of hunger will be sent forth;[23] in the third, a great famine, in the course of which men, women, and children, pious men and saints[24] will die, and the Torah will be forgotten by its students; in the fourth, partial plenty;[25] in the fifth, great plenty, when men will eat, drink, and rejoice, and the Torah will return to its disciples; in the sixth, [Heavenly] sounds;[26] in the seventh, wars; and at the conclusion of the septennate the son of David will come (the first year of the next Shmita cycle). R. Joseph demurred: But so many septennates have passed, yet has he not come! — Abaye retorted: Were there then [Heavenly] sounds in the sixth and wars in the seventh! Moreover, have they [sc. the troubles] been in this order![27]

 

In the Midrash we have a similar idea with a bit of elaboration:

 

Pesiqta deRab Kahana, Midrashic sermons for Shabbat HaChodesh And Rabbis say, In the septennate in which the son of David comes, in the first of the seven year spell, I shall cause it to rain on one town and not on another (Amos 4:7). In the second, the arrows of famine will be sent forth. In the third there will be a great famine, and men, women, and children will die in it, and the Torah will be forgotten in Israel. In the fourth, there will be a famine which is not really a famine, and plenty which is not plentiful. In the fifth year, there will be great plenty, and people will eat and drink and rejoice, and the Torah will again be renewed. In the sixth there will be great thunders. In the seventh there will be wars. And at the end of the seventh year of that septennate, the son of David will come. Said R. Abbaye, How many septennates have there been like this one, and yet he has not come! But matters accord with what R. Yohanan said, In the generation in which the son of David comes, disciples of sages will perish, and those that remain will have faint vision, with suffering and sighing, and terrible troubles will come on the people, and harsh decrees will be renewed. Before the first such decree is carried out, another will be brought along and joined to it. Said R. Abun, In the generation in which the son of David comes, the meeting place will be turned over to prostitution, the Galilee will be destroyed, Gablan will be desolate, and the Galileans will make the rounds from town to town and find no comfort. Truthful men will be gathered up, and the truth will be fenced in and go its way. Where will it go? A member of the household of R. Yannai said, It will go and dwell in small flocks in the wilderness, in line with this verse of Scripture: Truth will be among bands (Is. 59:15). Said R. Nehorai, In the generation in which the son of David comes, youths will humiliate old men, sages will rise before youths, a slave girl will abuse her mistress, a daughter-in-law her mother-in-law, a man’s enemies will be his own householders, a son will not be ashamed for his father, the wisdom of scribes will turn rotten, the vine will give its fruit but wine will be expensive. Said R. Abba bar Kahana, The son of David will come only to a generation which is liable for total extermination. Said R. Yannai, The son of David will come only to a generation the principal leaders of which are like dogs. Said R. Levi, If you see one generation after another blaspheming, look for the footsteps of the messiah-king. What verse of Scripture indicates it? Remember Lord the taunts hurled at your servant, how I have borne in my heart the calumnies of the Gentiles; so have your enemies taunted us, 0 Lord, taunted the successors of your anointed king (Ps. 89:5 1). What follows? Blessed is the Lord for ever, amen, amen (Ps. 89:52).

 

Part of what makes this year’s Birchat HaChama exciting is the fact that Pesach falls on the same day of the week (Wednesday evening) as it did in the days of the Exodus from Egypt. Further, the death of Yeshua[28] (another redemptive event) also occurred on a Wednesday evening. Thus we have a confluence of events that are all related to redemption.

 

The following Midrash details the day of the week:

 

Pesiqta deRab Kahana, Midrashic sermons for Shabbat HaChodesh V:1 He appointed the moon for [lunar] seasons, yet the sun knows its coming (Ps. 104:19): Said R. Yohanan, “Only the orb of the sun was created for the purpose of giving light. “Let there be light” (Gen. 1:14): What is written is light [in the singular]. If so, why was the moon created? It was for the signification of the seasons, specifically so that, through [regular sightings of the moon, Israelites would] sanctify new months and years. R. Shila of Kefar Tamarata in the name of R. Yohanan: “Nonetheless: The sun knows its coming.[29] On the basis of that statement, we have the following rule: people count the advent of the new moon only once the sun has set. [Proving the foregoing proposition,] Yusta, an associate, in the name of R. Berekhiah: And they traveled from Raamses in the first month on the fifteenth day of the month (Num. 33:3). Now if one counts only by the month, up to this point there had been only fourteen[30] sunsets. [Freedman, Genesis Rabbah, p. 41, n. 4: This is based on the tradition that the Nisan — the first month — in which the Exodus took place fell on a Thursday, while the actual new moon occurred after midday on the preceding Wednesday. It is further assumed that, when this happens, the moon is not visible until the second evening following, i.e., the evening of Friday. Hence if we counted time solely from when the new moon is visible, then by the Thursday on which they left, a fortnight after, there would only have been thirteen sunsets. Since, however, it is called the fifteenth of the month, we see that the month was calculated from the first sunset after the new moon.] One must therefore conclude that one counts the beginning of the month only from sunset.

 

Now if Pesach 5769 falls on the same day of the week as the Pesach of the Exodus, then we will also have other festivals that are on the same day of the week as they were in the days of the Exodus:

 

The first day of Pesach will be on the same weekday as Tisha B’Av.

 

The second day of Pesach will be on the same weekday as Shavuot.

 

The third day of Pesach will be on the same weekday as the following Rosh HaShanah, Succoth, and Shemini Atzeret.

 

The fourth day of Pesach will fall on the same weekday as the following Simchat Torah.

 

The fifth day of Pesach will fall on the same weekday as the following Yom HaKippurim.

 

The sixth day of Pesach will fall on the same weekday as the preceding Purim.

 

Thus we can see that we will have an entire year’s worth of festivals which will fall on the same weekday as they did during the year of the Exodus. This will truly be a most remarkable year!

 

The year 5768 is a Shmita (sabbatical) year, and is followed by 5769, the year in which we recite Birchat HaChama.

 

The following chart shows the sequence of Shmita years with the Yovel (and Yovel1) or Jubilee year. Please note that there are other opinions as to when the we celebrate the Yovel, as we have mentioned previously. Some of these opinions are documented in YOVEL.

 

Shmita

Shmita

Cycle Year

Three

Year 1 – 5762

Year 2 – 5763

Year 3 – 5764

Year 4 – 5765

Year 5 – 5766

Year 6 – 5767

Year 7 - 5768

Four

Year 1 – 5769

Year 2 – 5770

Year 3 – 5771

Year 4 – 5772

Year 5 – 5773

Year 6 – 5774

Year 7 - 5775

Five

Year 1 – 5776[31]

Year 2 – 5777

Year 3 – 5778

Year 4 – 5779

Year 5 – 5780

Year 6 – 5781

Year 7 - 5782

Six

Year 1 – 5783

Year 2 – 5784

Year 3 – 5785

Year 4 – 5786

Year 5 – 5787

Year 6 – 5788

Year 7 - 5789

Seven

Year 1 – 5790

Year 2 – 5791

Year 3 – 5792

Year 4 – 5793

Year 5 – 5794

Year 6 – 5795

Year 7 - 5796

Yovel

Year

&

First year of the next Shmita Cycle.

Year 50 – 5797

 

This is a Yovel year according to Rambam.

 

 

Nisan 14 Events

 

The following events occurred on Nisan 14:

 

Fast-day of the first-born. Soferim 21

 

Water swells on the earth in the days of Noah.

Day 104. Genesis 7:24

 

Cain and Able offer their sacrifices.  Genesis 4:3-5,

PdRE, section 21, Yonaton b. Uziel

 

Og comes to Abram and relates the capture of Lot.[32]

 

Isaac blesses Jacob and Esau. Genesis 27,  Midrash

 

Mordecai and the Jews fast for the second day.  Esther 4:16

 

Preparation day.  John 19:14, 31

 

Yocheved hides Moses after a six month and one day pregnancy - day 37.[33]

 

Levites still consecrating the temple in Hezekiah's day, day 14.  II Chronicles 29:17

 

Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem. Targum, Ruth 1:22

 

King Hezekiah fell critically ill. According to Seder Olam, King Hezekiah was taken ill three days before  the defeat of King Sennacherib - day 3.[34]

 

Yeshua has a Pesach seder.  John 13:1

 

Paschal lambs are killed at twilight. Exodus 12:1-6

 

Pilate releases Barabbas. Matthew 27:15-21

 

Yeshua was crucified. John 19:42  

 

Curtain of the Temple rent.  Matthew 27:51                       

 

Holy dead are raised to life.  Matthew 27:52-53

 

Darkness came over all the land from the sixth until the ninth hour.  Matthew 27:34-45

 

The Service[35]

 

Once every twenty-eight years, the sun is at exactly the same place in the sky, at the same hour and on the same day of the week, that it was at the time of its creation. We mark this occasion in the month of Nisan by rising at dawn to make the Birchat HaChama. After the Shacharit (morning) prayers are recited, everyone goes outside and recites with great simcha (joy), the following service.

 

Birchat HaChama Service

 

The service begins with the praise of the sun from creation:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 1:14 And God said: ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; 15  and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth.’ And it was so. 16  And God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; and the stars. 17  And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18  and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. 19  And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

 

Yiremeyahu (Jeremiah) 31:34-39 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know HaShem: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith HaShem: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. 35 Thus saith HaShem, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; HaShem of hosts is his name: 36  If those ordinances depart from before me, saith HaShem, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. 37  Thus saith HaShem; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith HaShem. 38  Behold, the days come, saith HaShem, that the city shall be built to HaShem from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner. 39  And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath.

 

Tehillim (Psalms) 136:1-9 O give thanks unto HaShem; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 2  O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. 3  O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever. 4  To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever. 5  To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever. 6  To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever. 7  To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever: 8  The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever: 9  The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.

 

Tehillim (Psalms) 84:12 HaShem of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

 

Tehillim (Psalms) 72:5 They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.

 

Tehillim (Psalms) 75:2 When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly.

 

Malachi 3:20 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

 

Tehillim (Psalms 97:6) The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.

 

Tehillim (Psalms) 97:1-6 HaShem reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. 2  Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. 3  A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. 4  His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. 5  The hills melted like wax at the presence of HaShem, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. 6  The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.

 

Berachoth 59b Our Rabbis taught: He who sees the sun at its turning point, the moon in its power, the planets in their orbits, and the signs of the mazzaroth in their orderly progress, should say: Blessed be He who has wrought the work of creation. And when [does this happen]? — Abaye said: Every twenty-eight years when the cycle begins again and the Nisan [Spring] equinox falls in Shabbtai - שבתי (Saturn) on the evening of Tuesday, going into Wednesday.

 

We read Tehillim (Psalms) 148 just before the blessing:

 

Tehillim (Psalms) 148:1 Praise HaShem. Praise ye HaShem from the heavens: praise him in the heights. 2  Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. 3  Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. 4  Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. 5  Let them praise the name of HaShem: for he commanded, and they were created. 6  He hath also established them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass. 7 Praise HaShem from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: 8  Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word: 9  Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: 10  Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: 11  Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: 12  Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: 13  Let them praise the name of HaShem: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven. 14  He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise HaShem.

 

Tehillim (Psalm) 90  <<A Prayer of Moses the man of God.>> Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. 2  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. 3  Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men. 4  For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. 5  Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. 6  In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth. 7 For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled. 8  Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance. 9  For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. 10  The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. 11  Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. 12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. 13  Return, HaShem, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants. 14  O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. 15  Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. 16  Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. 17  And let the beauty of HaShem our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

 

Then we say the following blessing:

 

Blessed are You, HaShem, our G-d, King of the world, Who does the work of creation!

 

Tehillim (Psalm) 121 <<A Song of degrees.>> I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2  My help cometh from HaShem, which made heaven and earth. 3  He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. 4  Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5  HaShem is thy keeper: HaShem is thy shade upon thy right hand. 6  The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. 7  HaShem shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. 8  HaShem shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

 

Tehillim (Psalm) 19 <<To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.>> The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. 2  Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3  There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 4  Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, 5  Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. 6  His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. 7 The law of HaShem is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of HaShem is sure, making wise the simple. 8  The statutes of HaShem are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of HaShem is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9  The fear of HaShem is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of HaShem are true and righteous altogether. 10  More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11  Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. 12  Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. 13  Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. 14  Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, HaShem, my strength, and my redeemer.

 

Tehillim (Psalm) 8 <<To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.>> HaShem our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. 2  Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. 3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4  What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5  For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6  Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: 7  All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; 8  The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. 9  HaShem our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

 

Habakkuk 3:11 The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear.

 

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of HaShem is risen upon thee.

 

El Adon al kol hama'asim is sung.

 

Aleinu is sung.

 

Makkoth 23b R. Hanaiah ben Akashia says: The Holy One, blessed be He, desired to make Israel worthy, therefore gave He them the law [to study] and many commandments [to do]: For it is said: HaShem was pleased for His righteousness’ sake, to make the law great and glorious.

 

Finally, if a minyan is present we say Mourner’s Kaddish:

 

May His great name grow exalted and sanctified (Amen!) throughout the world which He has created according to His will. May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon; and say, Amen.

 

May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.

 

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.

 

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

 

He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may He create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

 

Cycles Of Twenty-Eight (28)

 

Every number is significant and has meaning. What is the meaning of the number twenty-eight? What is the significance of the number twenty-eight? Since Birchat HaChama is said only once in twenty-eight years, we need to understand the role of the number twenty-eight. In this section we will attempt to answer these questions.

 

The meaning of twenty-eight

 

The number twenty-eight written in Hebrew letters (Chaf Chet - כח) spells the word koach which means power or strength[36]. Therefore, koach = strength = twenty-eight.

 

One of the Hebrew words for friend is ידיד (pronounced “yedeed”), which has a numerical value of twenty-eight.  This word can be split into two words (יד and יד pronounced “yad yad” and meaning “hand hand”).  There are fourteen bones in each hand, which gives us a total of twenty-eight bones for both hands.The general meaning of this is that a friend is one to whom you embrace with both hands open.  When put together with the previous idea of strength, we get the traditional Jewish blessing on one’s 28th year, “May your friends be a strength.” The two hands are the source of our strength. The first use of hands (yadayim plural) is found in:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 5:29 And he called his name Noah, saying, This shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which HaShem hath cursed.

 

We honor the dead by pronouncing Kaddish for them. When a minyan, ten men, say the mourner’s prayer, the soul of the deceased is uplifted. The entire theme of Kaddish is to elevate the physical world to recognize HaShem’s rule. The climax of Kaddish (from the words “Yehey Shmay Rabba Mivarach - may His Great Name be Blessed” until “B’almah.”) is comprised of precisely twenty-eight words! This is to show that we wish to elevate the world by bringing HaShem into every facet of our daily existence. We thereby become a partner with HaShem in creation.[37]

 

The first pasuk of the Torah of the Torah contains twenty-eight letters.

בראשית ברא אלוהים את השמים ואת הארץ

 

Chazal say in

 

Sotah 49a On what [merit] does the world endure? On kedusha desidra (said in “Uva letzion”) and on “Amen, Yehei shemei rabbah.”

 

Thus, we find a connection and a relationship between the creation of the world, “Yehei shemei rabbah,” and Torah: The three of them have seven words and twenty-eight letters.

 

Shemot (Exodus) 20:1 is a prelude to the Ten Commandments, there are seven words which have twenty-eight letters in them. It is well known that the ten commandments have a one-to-one relationship with the ten ‘sayings’ of creation. The Baal HaTurin calculates that there are seven words in the first verse of the creates a parallel between the Creation and its goal, i.e., the giving of the Torah in Shemot 20: saying, And God spoke of all these utterances.

 

Thus the significance of twenty-eight seems to allude to creation and the elevation of that creation.

 

Y Y Y

 

Every twenty-eight years the sun returns to the same position that it was in at creation. What is even more fascinating is that Yehoshua stopped the sun, and Yehoshua ruled over the Jewish People for twenty-eight years.[38]

 

Furthermore, it is said (Bereshit 23:1) vayihyu chaye Sarah, Sarah’s lifetime was, and the word chaye equals twenty-eight in gematria. The Midrash[39] expounds on the verse (Kohelet 1:5) that states vizarach hashemesh uva hashemesh, and the sun rises and the sun sets, to be referring to Sarah and Yehoshua. Additionally, the letter yud was taken from the name Sarah and placed in the name Yehoshua. Thus, we see a strong connection between the sun and the number twenty-eight.

 

Y Y Y

 

Kabbalistically, the four letter name  of HaShem when spelled out, extracting every letter from its sound, contains exactly twenty-eight letters! This is the theme of Kaddish, bringing out HaShem’s name.

 

([י=] יו”ד וא”ו דל”ת, [ה=] ה”א אל”ף, [ו=] וא”ו אל”ף וא”ו, [ה=] ה”א אל”ף)

 

Twenty-eight as four times seven

 

We can also look at twenty-eight as four time seven. This suggests that the program that is run when the meaning of four is multiplied times the meaning of seven, is power – koach - כח.

 

We have previously seen that four signifies completion or fullness.

 

We have previously seen that seven signifies connection, being the completion of the physical world which connects with the previous six days.

 

When we multiply four times seven we find that twenty-eight signifies a complete connection. This is the closing of the cycle. This merges with koach - כח when we understand that power comes from a complete connection.

 

In the Alefbet

 

Aryeh Kaplan in his book titled “Sefer Yetzirah”, tells us that if we take the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew Alefbet and add the five final letters, we arrive at twenty-seven letters. Twenty-eight represents a level above this, which cannot be expressed with letters.

 

In the cycle of the moon

 

It takes the moon about twenty-eight days to go one rotation around the Earth. The Jewish calendar uses twenty-nine and a half (29.5) days to account for the movement of the earth during those twenty-eight days. The festival of Rosh Chodesh, the New Moon, is also an occasion when Jews make a blessing called kiddush Lavanah, and add special sections to the shacharit prayers. Thus the period of the moon twenty-eight days and the period of the sun is twenty-eight years. The moon returns to it’s creation location every nineteen years (Metonic scale – machzor katan or machzor Lavanah). Interestingly, every five hundred and thirty-two (28 * 19) years the sun and the moon are both back to their place at the time of creation.

 

Phases of the moon

 

Finally, to underscore the importance of twenty-eight as it relates to the sun, moon, and stars; we find that on Elul 28 or Adar 28, HaShem created the sun, moon, and stars! Chazal teach that Elul 25 was the first day of creation and that Adam was created on Tishri 1, the sixth day of creation.

 

Rosh Hashanah 10b Rabbi Eliezer says: The world was created in Tishre... Rabbi Joshua says: The world was created in Nisan.

 

This means that man was created either on the first day of Tishre, Rosh HaShana, or on the first day of Nisan. Consequently the first day of creation was either the 25th of Adar or the 25th of Elul[40]. It then follows that the fourth day, when the sun, moon, and stars were created, was either Adar or Elul 28. Thus we have another twenty-eight as it concerns these planetary bodies.

 

In the menstrual cycle

 

Most women will have menstrual cycles that are around twenty-eight days[41]. Since this aligns with the cycle of the moon, we can see an obvious connection between the two. In fact, the word menses comes from the Latin word for a months (plural).

 

In human gestation

 

The gestation period for a human being is two hundred and eighty days (forty weeks). This period of time can be understood as ten times twenty-eight. Again we see twenty-eight in the birth of a baby. We would expect to see twenty-eight as it relates to koach, strength, in a son:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 49:3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might (koach), and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:

 

Thus a son is a man’s koach, His might, his power, and therefore his twenty-eight.

 

In the orbit of Shabbtai

 

Shabbtai –שבתי  (Saturn) revolves around the sun in twenty-eight years. This helps us to understand why our Baraita, on page one, mentions Saturn in relation to the twenty-eight year cycle of the sun.

 

In the Torah and Tanach

 

On the first Shabbat after Simchat Torah, we read the first pasuk of Bereshit, in the annual Torah reading cycle. In the Triennial, or Septennial, cycle, we read the first verse on Shabbat Shuva, the first Shabbat after Yom Teruah, and we also read it on Shabbat Hagadol in Nisan. This bi-modality of the Torah goes well with the Baraita of Rosh HaShanah 10b, where we have Rabbi Eliezer telling us the world was created in Tishri, and Rabbi Joshua telling us that the world was created in Nisan.

 

There are twenty-eight letters in the first verse of the Torah[42]. There are seven words (in the language of Chazal Tevotboxes) in which there are twenty-eight letters. In the language of Sefer Yetzirah these are seven houses (Batim) built from twenty-eight stones (Avanim). The first sentence of Torah speaks of the primordial birth of existence:

 

בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ

(In the beginning G-d created the heavens and the earth.)

 

In Jeremiah 51:15, the prophet declares that HaShem made the earth by his strength, or power [koach]. To find this word in this prophecy shows how Jeremiah understood Bereshit 1:1. He knew the verse taught about HaShem’s power through the usage of the number twenty-eight. He knew the literary formation and structure of Bereshit 1:1 taught a remez about HaShem’s strength.

 

On Shavuot we read the ten commandments in Shemot. The ten commandments are introduced by seven words and twenty-eight letters which are contained in the verse "G-d spoke all these words, saying…"[43]. The first commandment, of the ten, reminds us of the birth of the nation of Bnei Yisrael, which transpired for the sake of serving HaShem on Mount Sinai[44].

 

Sephardim read Kohelet on Shemini Atzeret. Ashkenazim read Kohelet on Shabbat Chol HaMoed Succoth. In this book we read about the number twenty-eight as it  appears in chapter three, twenty-eight times: “A time to be born, and a time to die ...” etc (Kohelet 3:2), which are also counted in seven pasukim.

 

1. A time to be born

2. A time to die

3. A time to plant

4. A time to uproot

5. A time to kill

6. A time to heal

7. A time to wreck

8. A time to build

9. A time to throw stones

10. A time to hoard stones

11. A time to loose

12. A time to seek

13. A time to embrace

14. A time to shun

15. A time to safeguard

16. A time to discard

17. A time to be still

18. A time to speak

19. A time to sew

20. A time to tear

21. A time of War

22. A time of peace

23. A time of hate

24. A time of love

25. A time of mourning

26. A time of dancing

27. A time to weep

28. A time to laugh

 

The underlying theme is that in every stage of life and every form of existence, man must search for the way to utilize it to serve HaShem.

 

The Torah speaks of twenty-eight, directly, in several places that are quite significant:

 

Shemot (Exodus) 36:9  The length of one curtain was twenty and eight cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: the curtains were all of one size.

 

The Mishkan (the Tabernacle) was a picture of creation and man, the pinnacle of creation. Thus we would expect that twenty-eight would be found in the Mishkan.

 

The altar in the first Temple was twenty-eight cubits square overall, whilst that of the second Temple was thirty-two cubits[45]. 

 

The showbread was hung by twenty-eight golden rods:

 

Midrash Rabbah - Numbers IV:14 AND THE BOWLS (MENAKKIOTH): By MENAKKIOTH the tubes are meant. There were twenty-eight hollow tubes of gold, susceptible to defilement--fourteen for one pile and fourteen for the other pile. He [a priest] entered on the Sabbath eve and detached them and placed them lengthwise on the table. All the vessels in the Sanctuary were arranged so as to run lengthwise along the House with the exception of the ark, whose length lay across the breadth of the House. In this manner were its staves inserted and in this manner it was carried.

 

How were they [the tubes] arranged? After the Sabbath a priest would enter, lift one end of a loaf and insert a tube underneath, then he would lift the other end and insert a tube under it, and one stave he would insert in the middle-three under each loaf. There were two under the top one, since it had no weight to bear, while the lowest was placed on the bare table. Why were tubes inserted between them? So that the air might have free access to them and prevent the bread from becoming mouldy. Why were the tubes constructed in the shape of hollow reeds split in two? So that they might not weigh down too heavily on the bread. The reason why it is written in the command: And the bowls thereof, wherewith to pout out - yussak (Ex. XXV, 29), is that they arranged the bread in the shape of a hut, each cake forming a roof to the one below.

 

Yehoshua was the first judge in eretz Israel. He led the Children of Israel into the promised land. Both of these beginnings are represented in the length of his reign:

 

Sefer HaYashar 90:47 And at the end of two years, Joshua the son of Nun died, one hundred and ten years old, and the time which Joshua judged Israel was twenty-eight years, and Israel served the Lord all the days of his life.

 

Seder Olam Rabbah 12 also indicates that Yehoshua led Israel for twenty-eight years.

 

Further, the pasuk that speaks of Yehoshua’s appointment also contains twenty-eight words[46], in the Hebrew:

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 27:16 Let HaShem, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, 17  Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of HaShem be not as sheep which have no shepherd.

 

This pasuk is normally read close to the fast of Tammuz 17, in the annual cycle and in the first half of the Septennial cycle. In the second half of the Septennial cycle, we read this close to the fast of the 10th of Tevet.

 

Y Y Y

 

The prayer Ashamnu (We have sinned) consists of twenty-eight words.

 

Y Y Y

 

There were twenty-eight High Priests who held office from the reign of Herod the Great till the destruction of the Temple[47].

 

A Perfect Number

 

Twenty-eight is said to be one of the perfect numbers by the Pythagoreans, because twenty-eight is divisible by 1, 2, 4, 7 and 14, whose sum is twenty-eight.

 

In the Nazarean Codicil

 

Matityahu (Matthew) has twenty-eight chapters.

 

Luqas (Luke) contains twenty-eight distinct references to the Tanach.

 

II Luqas has twenty-eight chapters. II Luqas 28:28 is very interesting:

 

II Luqas (Acts) 28:28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and they will hear it.

 

The Greek word pascha (Passover) is used twenty-eight times in the Nazarean Codicil.

 

Only in the writings of Yochanan (John) is Yeshua called The Lamb, the expression being used twenty-eight times in Revelation.

 

Yochanan uses the word commandments, plural and singular, twenty-eight times. We see that he also had twenty-eight merchants in:

 

Revelation 18:12-13 The merchandise of

  1. gold, and
  2. silver, and
  3. precious stones, and of
  4. pearls, and
  5. fine linen, and
  6. purple, and
  7. silk, and
  8. scarlet, and
  9. all thyine wood, and
  10. all manner vessels of ivory, and
  11. all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of
  12. brass, and
  13. iron, and
  14. marble,  And
  15. cinnamon, and
  16. odours, and
  17. ointments, and
  18. frankincense, and
  19. wine, and
  20. oil, and
  21. fine flour, and
  22. wheat, and
  23. beasts, and
  24. sheep, and
  25. horses, and
  26. chariots, and
  27. slaves, and
  28. souls of men.

 

The word nikao is found twenty-eight times in the Nazarean Codicil, and is almost always translated by the word overcome.

 

Twenty-eight times the term mystery is used in the Nazarean Codicil.

 

Other Indicators

 

Moshe Lerman suggested a background to Birchat Hachama by pointing out a possible connection between the traditional Hebrew dating and the two machzorim ("cycles") that are observed in Jewish tradition - the "small" 19-year cycle which is the basis of the Jewish calendar, and the "big" 28-year cycle which determines the year in which Birchat Hachama is recited. Mathematically, if one knows the position of a certain year in both cycles, one can compute the number associated to the year modulo 532 (19 times 28), given that the starting point of both cycles is year 1.

 

Because the astronomical year is slightly shorter than 365.25 days, the date of Birchat Hachama shifts away from the Spring equinox as history proceeds. A simple astronomical calculation shows that 84 cycles of 28 years before 5769, in the Jewish year 3417, the Spring equinox was in the beginning of the night before the fourth day of the week as stipulated by the Talmud. Lerman takes this as a hint that the astronomically astute Jewish sages of the time concluded that the Jewish year 3417 was a first year in the cycle of 28 years. Moreover, Lerman suggests that these same Jewish sages would have reasoned that year 3421 was a first year in the 19-year cycle, in accordance with an ancient tradition that the world was created in the first week of the month of Nissan. They would have concluded this from the Spring equinox occurring early in the night leading to the fourth day of the Jewish month of Nissan in the Jewish year 3421.

 

Lerman surmises that the Jewish sages at the time could argue for a determination of the position of their years in both cycles and could therefore compute the absolute year-count modulo 532 years. They were left with a number of options, 532 years apart from each other, and Lerman suggests that they chose the dating closest to what seemed to be the truth according to a literal interpretation of biblical accounts. The sages legally defined future equinox times by instituting the 28-year cycle, to protect the Hebrew dating against future change, and to leave a remembrance to what they had done.

 

Y Y Y

 

Another interesting aspect of the year 5769, is that Mashiach ben David will arrive at the end of a seven year Shmita cycle, according to Chazal in the Talmud:

 

Sanhedrin 97a ‘Thus hath R. Johanan said: in the generation when the son of David [i.e., Mashiach] will come, scholars will be few in number, and as for the rest, their eyes will fail through sorrow and grief. Multitudes of trouble and evil decrees will be promulgated anew, each new evil coming with haste before the other has ended.’

 

Our Rabbis taught: in the seven year cycle at the end of which the son of David will come-in the first year, this verse will be fulfilled: And I will cause it to rain upon one city and cause it not to rain upon another city;[48] in the second, the arrows of hunger will be sent forth;[49] in the third, a great famine, in the course of which men, women, and children, pious men and saints[50] will die, and the Torah will be forgotten by its students; in the fourth, partial plenty;[51] in the fifth, great plenty, when men will eat, drink and rejoice, and the Torah will return to its disciples; in the sixth, [Heavenly] sounds;[52] in the seventh, wars; and at the conclusion of the septennate the son of David will come (the first year of the next Shmita cycle). R. Joseph demurred: But so many septennates have passed, yet has he not come! — Abaye retorted: Were there then [Heavenly] sounds in the sixth and wars in the seventh! Moreover, have they [sc. the troubles] been in this order![53]

 

The year 5768 is a Shmita (sabbatical) year, and is followed by 5769 (2009), the year in which we recite Birchat HaChama.

 

Thus we might expect Mashiach ben David this year. However, Chazal have commanded us to expect Mashiach every day. Maimonides codifies this in Principle number twelve of his thirteen principles:

 

Principle XII. The era of the Mashiach

 

And this is to believe that in truth that he will come and that you should be waiting for him even though he delays in coming. And you should not calculate times for him to come, or to look in the verses of Tanach to see when he should come. The sages say: The wisdom of those who calculate times [of his coming] is small and that you should believe that he will be greater and more honored than all of the kings of Israel since the beginning of time as it is prophesied by all the prophets from Moses our teacher, peace be upon him, until Malachi, peace be upon him. And he who doubts or diminishes the greatness of the Mashiach is a denier in all the Torah for it testifies to the Mashiach explicitly in the portion of Bilaam and the portion of “You are gathered (towards the end of Deut)”. And part of this principle that there is no king of Israel except from the house of David and from the seed of Solomon alone. And anyone who disputes this regarding this family is a denier of the name of God and in all the words of the prophets.

 

Let us look today for Mashiach, and let His Majesty explain how the words of Chazal are reconciled at His coming, Amen V’Amen!

 

* * *

 

The forty years we are in now parallel the forty years after leaving slavery / Mitzrayim, this began in 5750 (1990). This began precisely on Pesach which was Nisan 15, 5750 (April 9,1990). One full turn of the 19 year Hebrew calendar, within which all the soul gates are fully experienced, comes to a completion in the spring, Nisan15, 5769 (April 9, 2009). It so happens that the 28 year cycle of the Birchat HaChama, the blessing of the Sun is celebrated at sunrise on April 8, 2009 (Nisan 14, 5769). This is when the sun according to the Talmudic sages returns exactly to the place it was in relation to the earth, when it was created.

 

Other Erev Pesach Events

 

Fast-day of the first-born. Soferim 21

Water swells on the earth in the days of Noah. Day 104. Genesis 7:24

Cain and Able offer their sacrifices.  Genesis 4:3-5, PdRE, section 21, Yonaton b. Uziel

Og comes to Abram and relates the capture of Lot. Targum Pseudo Yonatan to Bereshit 14

Isaac blesses Jacob and Esau. Genesis 27,  Midrash

Mordecai and the Jews fast for the second day.  Esther 4:16

Preparation day.  Yochanan 19:14, 31

Levites still consecrating the temple in Hezekiah's day, day 14.  II Chronicles 29:17

Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem. Targum, Ruth 1:22

King Hezekiah fell critically ill. According to Seder Olam, King Hezekiah was taken ill three days before  the defeat of King Sennacherib - day 3. 2 Kings 20:1, Seder Olam 23

Yeshua has a Pesach sederYochanan 13:1

Pesach lambs are killed at twilight.  Exodus 12:1-6

Pilate releases Barabbas. Matthew 27:15-21

Yeshua died. John 19:42  

Curtain of the temple rent.  Matthew 27:51

Holy dead are raised to life.  Matthew 27:52-53

Darkness came over all the land from the sixth until the ninth hour.  Matthew 27:34-45

 

Conclusion

 

In the year 5769 (2009), the 206th cycle of the sun will be complete, and in the Nisan of that year, we will have the privilege once again of saying the blessing on the Sun. May it come to us and all Israel for good!

 

Is this year possibly the year of the Geulah (redemption): 5769?

 

Bibliography

 

Rabbi J. David Bleich. Birchat Hachama, Blessing of the Sun: Renewal of the Creation: a Halachic Analysis and Anthology. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Mesorah Publications ltd, 1981. ISBN 0899061761.

 

Rabbi Nosson Scherman and Meir Zlotowitz. Kaddish. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Mesorah Publications ltd, 2006. ISBN 0899061605.

 

Additional sources - "Maimonides" Laws of Blessings 10:18; "Code of Jewish Law" O.C. 229:2.

 

Appendix A:

 

 

 

 

 


 


April 7, 1869

Nisan 26, 5629

Year 5 of the 19 year cycle - Normal

April 7, 1897

Nisan 5, 5657

Year 14 of the 19 year cycle – Normal-leap

April 8, 1925

Nisan 14, 5685 – Erev Pesach

Year 4 of the 19 year cycle - Full

April 8, 1953

Nisan 23, 5713

Year 13 of the 19 year cycle - Full

April 8, 1981

Nisan 4, 5741

Year 3 of the 19 year cycle – Deficient-leap

April 8, 2009

Nisan 14, 5769 – Erev Pesach

Year 12 of the 19 year cycle - Normal

April 8, 2037

Nisan 23, 5797 – Yovel year[54]

Year 2 of the 19 year cycle - Deficient

April 8, 2065

Nisan 2, 5825

Year 11 of the 19 year cycle – Full-leap

April 8, 2093

Nisan 12, 5853

Year 1 of the 19 year cycle - Normal

April 9, 2121

Nisan 21, 5881 – 7th of Pesach

Year 10 of the 19 year cycle - Full

 

The Two Century Rule For the Tekufot[55]

(Tekufot According to Samuel)

 

In years in which the Hebrew year number divided by four leaves the remainder

Tekufot Tishri is on:

Tekufot Tevet is on:

Tekufot Nisan is on:

Tekufot Tammuz is on:

Sheelah: Tal Umatar is inserted from evening preceding:

1

October 7

3 a.m.

January 6

10:30 a.m.

April 7 (8)

6 p.m.

July 8

1:30 a.m.

December 5

2

October 7

9 a.m.

January 6

4:30 p.m.

April 7 (8)

midnight

July 8

7:30 a.m.

December 5

3

October 7

3 p.m.

January 6 (7)

10:30 p.m.

April 7 (8)

6 a.m.

July 8

1:30 p.m.

December 5

4 or 0

October 7 (8)

9 p.m.

January 6

4:30 a.m.

April 7 (8)

noon

July 8 (8)

7:30 p.m.

December 6

 

a. All hours are given in Jerusalem time.

b. This rule applies to all tekufot from Nisan 1900 to Tevet 2100, or for 200 years. In the 19th century all tekufot were one day earlier.

c. According to the civil calendar, the time from 6 p.m. to midnight belongs to the preceding day. According to the Jewish calendar, to the following day. The dates in parenthesis are, therefore, the days of the Tekufot (solstices and equinoxes) which occur the preceding evening.

 

 

Appendix B:

 

The following insight was found at: http://gematriot.blogspot.com/2008/11/countdown-to-bircat-hachama.html

 

 

In the first day of creation - in creating the light - Ohr - it says "Yehi Ohr". HaShem said "Let there be light". I will show you how this phrase, and the word Ohr itself, refers to this very Birchat HaChama in all of history. You see, on this coming Erev Pesach, April 8, 2009, it will be the 207th time that the sun will be in the exact same orbitary position from the first time that it was at its creation. Indeed, Ohr-"Light" is the Gematria of 207! Moreover, the phrase Yehi Ohr is the Gematria of 232, and this year 5769 is the 232nd year from the end of the slated 6,000 years of this worlds' existence! I truly believe that it will be THIS Birchat HaChama that will take place right before Passover - the holiday of redemption - that will usher in the Messianic Era that will begin to change the world.

 

But wait, there is more. The very beginning of Tractate Pesachim, the section in the Mishna that deals with the laws of Passover starts off with the words "Ohr L'Arba'ah Asar" - The "Ohr" referring to the night of the 14th (day of Nisan) talking about searching for Chametz which is supposed to be done at the BEGINNING of the night. Similarly, when HaShem created the sun and all, this happened at the BEGINNING of the night - which happened on Tuesday evening - the night of the 4th day of the week, since according to the Jewish calendar, the day begins at night. Similarly, this year, 14th day of Nissan will fall out on the 4th day of the week, when we will be praising HaShem for the sun for its same orbital position for it's 207(th)=Ohr time - that is, the Ohr - 207th time that will fall out this time - and the last time of the world's existence - on the 14th of Nissan - "Ohr L'Arba'ah Asar"! Thus, both the Torah in its description of the light's creation, and the Mishna's law on searching for Chametz on the night of the 14th of Nisan, the evening before Passover, are both referring to this one day of history as this type of combination that never happened before, and will never happen again! That is, there is only one time in history that it's the 207th time - exactly 232 years before the end of world history, and it coincides with the 14th of Nisan, as hinted in the Mishna! Indeed, the light of spirituality as it was when the sun was first created will be here once again.

 

shimonmatisyahu

 

Appendix C:

 

Rabbi D. Kramer  said: Much has been made about the possibility of Birchat HaChama falling on Erev Pesach the year we came out of Egypt and the year we were saved from Haman's decree. However, if you do the math (Birchat HaChama occurring every 28 years, with the first one coming in year one and the second in year 29), there was no Birchat HaChama in 2448 (it would have been in 2437 and then in 2465), nor in the year of the Purim story. However, these calculations are based on Shemuel's opinion that we estimate the length of the year (as opposed to Rav Ada bar Ahava, who gives a much more accurate length, and whose opinion we follow regarding leap years), and we didn't "paskin" like Shemuel until Talmudic times (at the earliest). The ancient Egyptians were said to have a pretty decent knowledge of astronomy, and when you consider the traditions Moshe had that came from the patriarchs, it is theoretically possible that 2448 was in fact a year of Birchat HaChama (especially since the start of the "cycle" was not really year 1 of the earth's years, but about 4 billion years earlier). Purim happened way before we "paskened" like Shemuel as well, but there we have another major issue: the supposed "lost" years of Jewish history (see www.aishdas.org/ta/5768/tzav.pdf). Unless there were 168 lost years (a multiple of 28, and most scholars put the number between 166 and 168), if there really are, say, 166 years of history that are unaccounted for, our numbers are off. Not a problem as far as making the beracha, as we "paskin" that this year is 5769, and we "paskin" that we say Birchat HaChama every year that, after subtracting 1, is divisible by 28. But it's yet another factor to take into consideration when discussing whether or not the year of Purim could have been a year that Birchat HaChama was said. So much is packed into this seemingly simple blessing. Science and Torah, the Halachic process, the missing years, gender equality, human mortality; all issues that come to bear. And through it all, the ultimate message is that we turn to G-d and praise Him for creating us![56]

 

Y Y Y


 

 

 


 

Y Y Y

 

This study was written by

Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David

(Greg Killian).

Comments may be submitted to:

 

Rabbi Dr. Greg Killian

4544 Highline Drive SE

Olympia, WA 98501

 

Internet address: gkilli@aol.com

Web page: http://www.betemunah.org/

 

(360) 918-2905

 

Return to The WATCHMAN home page

Send comments to Greg Killian at his email address: gkilli@aol.com

 



[1] Shulchan Aruch 229:2, Mishna Brura 7, Rambam Hilchot Berachot 10:18

[2] Bereshit (Genesis) 1:14

[3] An acronym for Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim, the so called Old Testament.

[4] This eruv allows us to cook on the second day of Yom Tov so that we can eat on Shabbat. This eruv is prepared on erev Pesach, the same day we say Birchat HaChama.

[5] This is a Jubilee year according to Rambam. See also yovel1.

[6] According to Tekufat Shmuel

[7] In its apparent motion in the ecliptic, the sun has four ‘turning points’ which mark the beginnings of the four respective seasons. These points are generically referred to as the tekufoth (sing. tekufah). They are: the two equinoctial points when the sun crosses the equator at the beginning of spring and autumn respectively, and ‘turns’ from one side of the equator to the other; and the two solstices, when the sun is at its maximum distance, or declination, from the equator, at one or other side of it, at the beginning of summer and winter respectively, and instead of progressively increasing its declination it ‘turns’ to decrease it progressively. (It may be mentioned that the term ‘tekufah’ is also used not only for the beginning of a season but for the whole of the season itself.)

[8] The vernal or autumnal equinox is not a fixed point in relation to the signs of the mazzaroth, but keeps on changing its position to the extent of 50.1". (50.1 seconds of arc) per year. This movement which is called ‘precession of the equinoxes’ is due to the continual shifting of the point of intersection of the ecliptic with the equator, but was believed by the ancients to be due to the progressive movement of the signs of the mazzaroth. As the result of precession, the equinoctial point which 2,000 years ago was the beginning of the sign toleh (first point of toleh) has since shifted 30¡ to the sign Dagim, although it is still spoken of as the first point of Toleh.

[9] The reference is to the sun at its turning point (Rashi).

[10] As the sun and moon were created on the 4th day, the beginning of the twenty-eight year cycle is always on a Wednesday which begins at the vernal equinox at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. This, according to computation coincides with the rise of Saturn, v. Rashi.

[11] Students of Rabeinu Yonah, Rif Berachot 43b

[12] Guide II, 10

[13] V. Feldman, op. cit. p. 199.

[14] During the first hour of that night (at the creation, and subsequently, every twenty-eight years), the planet Shabbtai is visible (because the planets' order according to the nights, is 'Katznash Chalam'). (b) 'Shetzem Chanchal' - is the acronym of the first letters of the seven planets: Shabbtai, Tzedek, Ma'adim, Chamah, Nogah, Kochav and Levanah. The order in which they appeared at the beginning of the day - each day of the week i.e. Shabbtai appeared first - at the creation - during the first hour of Sunday morning, Tzedek during the first hour of Monday morning, Ma'adim of Tuesday, etc. The order in which they appear at night, beginning with Motza'ei Shabbat, is, 'Katznash Chalam' Kochav on Motza'ei Shabbat, Tzedek on Sunday night, Nogah on Monday night, etc. This was the order at the time of the creation, and it is the order which is resumed on the night of Tekufah Nisan every twenty-eight years. The order in the day, starting from Sunday morning, is 'Chalam Katznash', as we explained. (Note: This cycle is actually resumed every seven years, and it is the exact same positioning of the planets in the sky that occurs only once in every twenty-eight years).

[15] the 'Ostrovster Admor', Sichot-Mair Einei Hachamim Mhadura Tenina Page 52, 5685 (1925)

[16] From here we learn that both these Birchat HaChama were connected to redemption.

[17] If so, then that is good news, VERY good news. For, the third time that the sun finds itself back in its original position on an Erev Pesach, which has to be on a Wednesday, the day on which it was put in its place during the week of Creation, will be in 2009, or 5769—the eighth year of THIS Shmita cycle! What an amazing coincidence.

[18] The significance I will not fully explain. Chazal encoded in to halachah the physics of how to understand time, pointing to the final Geulah. Therefore Birchat HaChama is significant, but this coming Birchat HaChama in 5769 is not independently significant. This cannot be readily derived or understood by itself, and requires further study of the Jewish calendar, as well as Kabbalistic works, namely the Zohar, the writings of the Ariza"l, and the GR"A. The halachah screams out about its own inaccuracy because it is trying to tell you something deeper.

[19] Rabeinu Avraham ben David HaLevy, zs'kl, commentator on the Talmud and a great 12th Century authority known as the RaBaD, brings solid proof the year תשס"ט 5769 is in fact Shnat Yovel.

[20] Avraham Azulai, zs'kl, that says, "The redemption will be in the year of "Yovel".

[21] Chesed Le'Avraham (Maayan 2, Nahar 59)

[22] Amos 4:7

[23] I.e., not actual famine, but the first signs thereof, no one being completely satisfied.

[24] Lit., ‘men on whose behalf miracles occur.’ — Jast.

[25] Lit., ‘plenty and no plenty’.

[26] Either Heavenly voices announcing the advent of Messiah, or the blasts of the great Shofar; cf. Isa. XXVII, 13.

[27] Though troubles and evil decrees have come in abundance, they were not in the order prescribed.

[28] See chronology for more insights.

[29] Tehilliom (Psalms) 104:19

[30] Genesis Rabbah 6:1: thirteen

[31] This is a Yovel year as we saw in Yovel1.

[32] Targum Pseudo Yonatan to Bereshit 14

[33] Artscroll Mesorah on Shavuos, page 61

[34] 2 Kings 20:1, Seder Olam 23

[35] Shulchan Aruch, Mishna Beruah, and Rabbi Moshe Sofer.

[36] Chassidus explains the nature of “koach” is to descend below to be enclothed in the lower regions to there effect an elevation.

[37] The Rosh - Yalkut Reuvaini

[38] Baal HaTurim Bamidbar 27:16

[39] Bereshit Rabbah 58:2

[40] Tosafot (Rosh HaShana 27a) reconciles between them by saying that the creation happened in two stages: First it was conceived in G-d’s mind, and then it was actualized.

[41] Niddah 54a

[42] Bereshit 1:1

[43] Shemot 20:1

[44] Shemot 3:12

[45] Menachoth 97b

[46] Baal HaTurim

[47] The Antiquities of the Jews, by Flavius Josephus, Part 26 out of 26.

[48] Amos 4:7

[49] I.e., not actual famine, but the first signs thereof, no one being completely satisfied.

[50] Lit., ‘men on whose behalf miracles occur.’ — Jast.

[51] Lit., ‘plenty and no plenty’.

[52] Either Heavenly voices announcing the advent of Messiah, or the blasts of the great Shofar; cf. Isa. XXVII, 13.

[53] Though troubles and evil decrees have come in abundance, they were not in the order prescribed.

[54] This is a Jubilee year according to Rambam.

[55] The Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar: Twentieth to Twenty-second Century, 5660-5860, By Arthur Spier

[56] © 2009 Rabbi D. Kramer