Printed from

Preparations Underway for Once-in-28-Years Mitzvah

Wednesday, 18 March, 2009 - 11:31 am

As Jews the world over busy themselves with preparations for Passover, Chabad centres are organising events to mark Birkat Hachamah (the sun blessing).

The once-in-28-years mitzvah will see Jews from all backgrounds taking to the streets in the early morning on Wednesday April 8th to participate in a rare prayer service which marks the point in time when the sun returns to the same point in the sky as it was on the fourth day of Creation.

Birkat Hachamah last took place in 1981. So, for many, this will be the first opportunity to witness and undertake this novel mitzvah.

Although the service is relatively short in its liturgy, the rarity and novelty of the event is expected to draw crowds of worshippers throughout the country.

“In the UK, the weather is one of the main considerations with the possibility of clouds causing a problem,” says Dayan L Y Raskin, rabbi of the Lubavitch community in London.

“People need to do their homework before the day. They should identify a suitable vantage point from where they can view the sun shortly after sunrise and undertake the mitzvah... Men, women and children should also share in the mitzvah,” advises Dayan Raskin.

Dayan Raskin has experienced a high demand to teach groups of people who want to fully prepare for this rare mitzvah. In the space of a week, he has given six such classes to a wide range of groups, including Neshei Chabad (Chabad Women’s Organisation) and Start the Day Torah Way men's groups in North and North West London.

One such class, given by Dayan Raskin at Chabad of Hendon, combined Torah with the latest technology. Using a high-speed internet connection and visual aids, residents in North West London linked up with members of Heichal Menachem in Salford to learn about Birkas Hachama. Participants were able to hear, see and be seen, and participate fully in the class despite being separated by almost 200 miles.

In Leeds, Rabbi Eli Pink will dispel some common misconceptions about this unique mitzvah with a lecture entitled “Thank G-d for the Sun – Idolatrous Origins?” as part of the Jewish Learning Institute.


For further information about Birkat Hachama, click here.

To find out what Birkat Hachama events are happening in your area, use the event finder or contact your local Chabad centre.


Comments on: Preparations Underway for Once-in-28-Years Mitzvah

ana gallego wrote...

We are so priviledged that G-d gave this mitzvah to us, may we all truly fulfill. Thank you, Ana