The sun’s blessings, solar energy and the Rebbe

March 4, 2009


The blogger at Jewish Climate Initiative has a post about the Rebbe’s early recognition of the possibilities of solar energy.

“So why did Rabbi Schneerson get it twenty eight years ago, when so many other smart people didn’t? The date of his utterance, April 11th, 1981 provides us with a clue. The Lubavitcher Rebbe gave his speech on solar power three days after the last Birkhat Hahama celebration…

Speaking on the Shabbat after the last Birkhat Hahama, Rabbi Schneerson was doing just that. He was challenging his listeners to use that day, an obscure but precious resource from our tradition, to think about whether their generation was using the sun’s blessings wisely.”

Read it all here.

Here’s the a clip from the sicha he references: (You will note that this Farbrengen, held in honor of the Rebbe’s birthday, did not take place on Shabbos. Chabad.org tells me that 11 Nissan 1981 was a Wednsday.)


Birkas Hachama – What’s up with it?

March 3, 2009


So what is Birkas Hachama anyway?

Hint: It’s not this.

From chabad.org:

Every 28 years the sun returns to the exact position, at the same time of the week, that it occupied at the time of its creation—at the beginning of the fourth day of creation. A special blessing – called Birkat Hachamah, “the sun blessing” – is recited to mark this event. Due to the rarity of this event, this blessing is customarily recited amid large public gatherings of men, women and children.

On April 8th, the sun will not be in the same spot as it was at the time of creation. Even discounting the fact that the world was created in the month of Tishrei, and assuming that the world began in Spring, the positioning simply does not match up.

So here goes: The brocho of Birkas Hachama is said when the spring equinox, or the start of “tekufas Nissan” by Shmuel’s accounting of the solar year, occurs on the same time and the same day of the week as in the springtime preceding creation (year 0 -6 months) when it was “oloh b’machshovah” or conceived. This happens every 28 years.

For a heliocentric explanation of the sun’s rotation and its relation to the seasons see after the break. Read the rest of this entry »


Announcing new release: Birkas Hachamo, “Blessing of the Sun”

February 22, 2009


NOW HEAR THIS: JEMnationblog is delighted to announce the release, in the near future, of a new and exciting video featuring the rare and esoteric once-in-28-year mitzvah, Birkas Hachamo.

The video will feature an intro with some background on the sun’s significance in Jewish life and history and the meaning behind the practice. The centerpiece will be the last performance of Birkas Hachamo, in 1981, together with the Rebbe. At the time, the Rebbe called for making a big event out of it, because of its rarity and the fact that it was a hakhel year. The four sichos the Rebbe said at the time are translated and subtitled, edited from three video sources, two audio sources, and since all that just isn’t enough (there are still a bunch of periods of “bad” footage), supplemented with never-before-seen pictures.

For info on Birkas Hachamo,  check out the dedicated section on chabad.org.


For 22 Shevat: Dr. Ira Weiss on the Rebbetzin

February 16, 2009

Recording session for new My Encounter vid soundtrack

February 14, 2009
Yehuda flutes it up

Yehuda flutes it up

A team of JEMsters spent the good part of Thursday night cutting a some tracks for the new My Encounter with the Rebbe video, Sensitivity

El Jefe E Shmotkin, editor Yanky Ascher, and virtuoso flutist Yehuda Piamenta met in the studio of music man/engineer/keyboardist Choni Milecki for a night of recording, editing, and rip-roaring fun.

Choni makes the good times roll

Choni makes the good times roll

By Friday morning, Yanky had the track added and mixed into the video, which a little birdie tells me will be premiering at Sunday night’s banquet for the Shluchos.

The Mix

Back at JEM: The Mix

Read the rest of this entry »


End interlude, blogcation over

February 14, 2009

Sorry for the lull folks. Been real busy – I’ll tell you all about it.



“We watched 400 feet of film from 1929”

February 6, 2009

This is a story about the films featured in America is No Different (which I botched big time yesterday).

From Rabbi Moshe Groner:

In the month of Elul 5710 (1950), I brought the Rebbe (Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson) photos of the funeral. They were taken by Dr. Red Gershbaum who was becoming close to Chabad in those years. He had taken up photography as a hobby. He stood on top of one of the building near 770, and took the photos. After some time, he gave them to Rabbi Hirsch Kotlarsky, who passed them on to me to give to the Rebbe. (He knew that I deal with these things.)

At the time, I would enter the Rebbe’s holy room every two weeks to give him something special that I had found (manuscripts, photographs, books, etc.). The next time I went, I brought along these photos.

When I handed them to the Rebbe I told the Rebbe Dr. Gershbaum’s name and mother’s name for the Rebbe to bless him. I also handed the Rebbe a written blessing request asking for the Rebbe’s blessing for his medical classes. The Rebbe asked: ‘How does he have it?” and I told the Rebbe. The Rebbe asked, “Why does it take so long? Do we need to pay for it?”

The Rebbe walked over to the window and studied the photos under the sunlight for a while, tears flowing from his eyes. He asked if there were more pictures, and then asked me to find out whether there was a film taken of the funeral. I told the Rebbe I would check. The Rebbe continued, “Is there a photo of the burials?” I answered that I didn’t think the Rebbe would ask for it. The Rebbe said, “Why not? Thank you very much and pass on my thanks to the doctor and to Rabbi Kotlarsky. I do not skimp a blessing, he should have much success in medicine.”

He later became a prominent surgeon at Beth Israel Medical Center. Read the rest of this entry »