Birkat Hahammah Covenant of Commitment
In a wonderful confluence of circumstances, the first night of Hanukkah in 2008/5769 fell on December 21, the northern hemisphere’s winter solstice. It is the longest night of the year, marking a day when the sun’s path is as low, as southerly and as scarce in its heavenly trek as it ever is. But it is also at this very moment that the darkening journey halts (sol-stice – sun-stopping). The sun stops, reverses course, and moves upwards and northward toward longer, lengthier hours of light again. The lengthening minutes of sunlight match the increasing number of lights we kindle in our homes.
Three months later, the next significant solar event occurs: the sun reaches its vernal (spring) equinox. While we know that time as March 21, the rabbinic calendar celebrates the equinox on April 8. That is the moment of Birkat HaHammah, the blessing we recite once every 28 years, grateful for the creation of the sun.
In honor of Birkat HaHammah COEJL drafted a covenant of commitment for people to take upon themselves and created a website blessthesun.org to accompany it. While Birkat HaHammah may have passed the commitment is still a worthy undertaking and its message should remain in the forefront of our minds.
From the Birkat Hahammah Covenant of Commitment
“This Birkat Hahammah, we join forces to show our appreciation for the creation of the sun, and the renewable gift of light that dawns upon us each day. By signing this Covenant of Commitment, I/we pledge to hasten the day of environmental healing, social justice and sustainable living for all.
In doing so, I/we join with thousands of others around the world who seek to live cleaner, healthier, more sustainable, fulfilling lives. By signing, I/we promise to pursue at least one task in any of the three areas of Celebration, Application and Donation that will bring us closer to this goal.
In recognition of the celebration of Birkat Hahammah and the trust placed in human hands to tend to the world….”
See full covenant here: http://www.blessthesun.org/forwardtrack/#Application