Today, in the Jewish world, there is plenty going on. Tonight we begin a week of Passover with the Seder, an annual remembrance of the Hebrews’ freedom from Egypt, emancipated by no less than G-d, which we commemorate, roughly, by slaving in the kitchen (after having cleaned our house thoroughly during the previous week) and collapsing into our soup. This is not intentionally ironic, unless there is more sense of humor at play in our religion than I imagined. We ARE a funny people, they say.
And then there is the sun. Perhaps you’ve read or heard about the esoteric blessing made every 28 years, celebrating the earth and sun realigning, according to Talmudic tradition, in the precisely same position as they were during Creation. Yes, there have been complaints: The astrological calculations are inexact; the practice is predicated on a fairly literal reading of Creationism; and until this half of the Century the practice wasn’t nearly as well-known as it is today, even among religious Jews.
Yet the blessing itself – which I said, peaceful and alone, on my empty street at sunrise while my husband and older kids went to a huge ceremony of thousands (Jewish Unity!) in Jerusalem, and my little ones were blessedly asleep – is truly beautiful and meditative. Although a blessing ON the sun, it is by no means a blessing TO the sun; reading the prayer, there is no room to mistake it for paganism. (I’m sure there will be some who are disappointed by this, because that would have been another really juicy Jewish irony.)
In a nutshell, the prayer underscores God’s eminent hand in our world and in our lives, and beseeches Him for good years (indeed, to be around at all) until the next cycle comes around.
It’s another time to pause – this year, amid the pots and pans of Passover – and reflect on where we are and where we’re going. Last time, in 1981, a good friend (who was then 15) created a time capsule tape, to be opened at the next Sun Blessing. Now 43 with a family (his daughters are now roughly the age he was then), he’s shared his capsule with his friends, and it was very cool to see that kind of human progression. The kid who liked Devo and the Beatles and notes that his kitchen was white and red, is now a guy who… actually hasn’t changed as profoundly as one might think, but has a very different voice and not as strong of a New Yawk accent. In a bittersweet (and kind of spooky) segment of the tape, his mother and father bet on who would be around for the next cycle. They bet wrong.
This scares me, but I have to go cook.
In any event, the time capsule idea rocks, and I think I’m going to create one (on this blog, which I hope lasts as long as my friend’s low-tech audiotape… although I have my doubts) as soon as I get out from under the crunch of the matzah.
2037. Where will we all be? Try not to bet.
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