BIRKAT HACHAMA (BLESSING OVER THE SUN)
Birchat Hachama is a special blessing made on the anniversary of the sun's motion from the earth. It is a rare and special mitzvah in that it is made only once every 28 years and one normally only has two or three chances in a lifetime to perform. Birkat hachama will be siad this year on Erev Passover, April 8th 2009.
The Talmud in Berachot (59b) states: "On seeing the sun at it tekufah (equinox)... one says Baruch Oseh Ma'aseh Bereishis (Blessed be the Maker of Creation)."
- Birkat Hachama is said the morning follolwin the spring equinox (also known as the vernal equinox)
- Essentially the prayed is just the one blessing, but many have the custom to add in relevant psalms.
- A minyan of 10 men is not required but it is preferable to say the blessing in a large group.
- The blessing should be said as early as possible after sunrise, but must be said before 9:40am (British Summer Time)
- If the sun is covered by clouds for the entire first 3 hours of the day, the blessing may still be said so long as its outline can be seen through the coouds of if any part of the sun is visible.
Further details and astronomical data can be found at: