Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Searching for Bright Light...for a purpose

It's the big day--the day when the sun returns to the exact location of its creation, and the once-every-28-year opportunity to note the occasion with the "birkat ha chamma" blessing that celebrates God's "works of creation."

This always occurs on a Wednesday, April 8, but seldom on the eve of Passover as today. I stayed up absurdly late packing not only myself but my fatigued son, tuckered out by all that watching me write/edit his term paper yesterday and through the night before.

But the birkat ha chamma is so rare, and so momentous, that we dragged ourselves from our slumber to join our synagogue members early this morning. The first thing I noticed upon casting my eyes outside was--dum, dum, DUM--the dreaded "curtain of gray." Without the ability to actually see the sun--even its outline through clouds will do--you can't recite the blessing. And after three glorious, sunny, clear and warm days, we'd dived right back into the gloomy Northwestern norm, in which colors are muted, and the sky and Lake Washington match in an oozy sheet of the non-color best called neither-here-nor-there.

With minimal hopes, we climbed into the car and slipped into the crowded synagogue in time to catch the conclusion of our Rabbi's exposition of a Talmud tractate and the raft of blessings marking a "siyum," a meal celebrating completion of a portion of Torah, especially important today for the many "first-born" guys who otherwise would have to fast until the seder tonight. My own spouse, also a first-born male, will be one of those with heightened anticipation of that first cup of wine and desert-dry matzah, as he had to fly early and had no siyum that would have allowed him to eat for the rest of the day.

We who seek the sun--who are Searching for Bright Light--do have a ray of hope that we can still say the birkat ha chamma today. One is allowed to do so until 1:10 pm, and also to view the sun, and say the blessing, through a window. Before that time, we'll be rising above the clouds, as we wing our way to our Passover destination, and I anticipate the joyous recitation of the rare and marvelous blessing.

If only we had window seats.
Unfortunately, no seats were assigned for our flight until day-of-departure, and my children and I are all seated separately and distantly. Only one of us has a window seat. So I'm planning to visit the flight attendants at the back of the plane and peer out their window, just long enough to claim a moment of that brightest light, a sight I hope will illuminate the next 28 years.

Again...Happy Passover, Happy Easter--and Happy Sunshine! (that's the slogan on my cell phone. Photo above is dawn on Jerusalem.)


  1. "ברוך אתה ה' אלהינו מלך העולם עושה מעשה בראשית"
    "Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the Universe who makes the works of Creation."

  2. Hi Diane,
    I was trying to find your email but was unsuccessful so I will communicate this way. I enjoyed the debate you had on your husband's show the other day about marriage. It might have even been a replay of a past show. I strongly agree with your pro-marriage stance. Your argument made me think of a talk I heard from one of our church leaders, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He talks about why it is so important to uphold this ideal of marriage especially now when cultural forces are trying to delegitimize this time honored institiution. I hope you find the time to read it. You can find it at,4945,8027-1-4404-2,00.html.

    I am very grateful for all you and your husband do to help support and defend traditional values.

    Jeremy Spilsbury

    P.S. It is one of my future aspirations to attend one of your husband's tours of Israel. We have five small chldren so we are unable to go in the near future. Hopefully he continues the tours for several more years!

  3. Julie, thanks for the comments. It was indeed a repeat, played during the Passover holiday. I appreciate your agreement and support and hope your family will indeed join us on a future Israel trip.

  4. I came to your blog after reading your Earth Day post on your husband's blog. This reading brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful celebration and what hope you have inspired in me today! Thank you for your gift. May The Lord bless you and keep you, may He make His light to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May He look upon you with favor and give you peace.

  5. oh so beautifully written. thank you...your words brought a restful pause to my day.