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Monday, May 12, 2008

Birkat HaHama & Geula - Fact & Fiction

As mentioned earlier on this blog, Birkat HaHama will be recited on Erev Pesah, 5769.

I had later linked to an article by Rav Winston, who mentioned something that is quickly becoming famous among Yeshiva students and others:
...This is interesting, because what I have seen this year I did not see the last time the Sh’mittah year came around. Someone from Montreal knew about it, faxed it to a friend of mine in Eretz Yisroel, who recently passed it on to me. It is from a sefer called, “Meir Einei Chachamim”, based upon the teachings of the Ostrovster Rebi. The following piece was said over in 1925, or the Jewish year 5685, the year of Kiddush HaChamah—the blessing over the sun that has returned to its original position at the time of Creation. He said:

From the time of Creation, there are three times that Kiddush HaChamah falls on Erev Pesach: the year they left Egypt—it is mentioned in the Talmud that Kiddush HaChamah happened on Erev Pesach on a Wednesday—and the second time was in the year of the redemption of Mordechai and Esther, who then fasted on the 14th, 15th, and 16th [of Nissan]. The third time Kiddush HaChamah occurs on Erev Pesach, not much time will pass before the redemption comes, God willing.

If so, then that is good news, VERY good news. For, the third time that the sun finds itself back in its original position on an Erev Pesach, which has to be on a Wednesday, the day on which it was put in its place during the week of Creation, will be in 2009, or 5769—the eighth year of THIS Sh’mittah cycle! What an amazing coincidence...

Now, I hate to throw cold water on this, BUT, there are a few problems with this:

1) Birkat HaHama in 1925 WAS on Erev Pesah, as many have mentioned in the comments.

2) There is a blog (see here and here) that tries to mathematically prove that it occurred more often.

See also here.

Now, for the warmer water.

I can't explain the Ostrovster Rebbe, but I'm sure his idea is that it's an auspicious time for the Ge'ula. Of course, every Birkat Hahama year is Motza'ei Shevi'it, which already makes it auspicious (see Sanhedrin 97). That, plus the fact that the heavens are aligned the same as in Ma'asei Bereishit, and we bless "Oseh Ma'aseh Vereishit", we are showing an awakening from below that we want Hashem Ehad Ushmo Ehad, as was the case during Creation. That, plus the fact that we are saying it on Erev Pesah, a day that we slaughtered the god of the Egyptians - a day designated for Ge'ula. That, plus the fact that ALL rabbinic leaders say we're currently Be'Ikveta DeMeshiha - all this combined makes this one special.

Is the timing absolute? Of course not, but auspicious - it is. Will I cry if Mashiah doesn't come by then? I'm saddened every day Mashiah doesn't come.

As an aside, for the first time in a while, we said the long Tahanunim today. Although it makes Tefilla longer, I nevertheless felt like I needed to say the following prayer which I missed during Nissan :

עד מתי עזך בשבי ותפארתך ביד צר

May the Geula come as quickly as possible without delay.


At Mon May 12, 11:16:00 PM 2008, Blogger גילוי said...

Yaak, I sent you an email (not sure how often you check that account) regarding this post.

Kol tuv

At Tue May 13, 01:12:00 AM 2008, Blogger yaak said...

Got it, thanks.

At Tue May 13, 10:04:00 AM 2008, Blogger גילוי said...

By discussing a date, any date, as when the Geulah will occur, you are referring to a point far down the road from where we are on the order of the Shmoneh Esreh (Bavli Megillah 17). Especially since you reference Sanhedrin speaking of Ben David coming after Shvi'it.

But discussing dates also indicates we are talking of the Geulah B'Itah. And we also know that the Geulah B'Itah takes a long time, it comes slowly.

Therefore, without entering in to any calculations, I know with certainty that Erev Pesach 5769 is not the Geulah moment.

The special nature of 5769 will reveal itself before Erev Pesach, indeed it has already begun to reveal itself on a small level. May it bring only good for the faithful of Hashem.

At Tue May 13, 11:30:00 AM 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the retraction, Yaak. But who is MRMELAMED?

At Tue May 13, 11:43:00 AM 2008, Blogger yaak said...

R' Gilui,

I'm aware of your Shittah from other posts from your blog. If I'm not mistaken, you hold that the Geula moment will be 14 years later. However, bimhila if I ask you: can you really say what you say "with certainty"? I might say that it's a good guess, but I don't think anyone bashamayim uva'aretz can be certain.

The gemara says: Liba Lefuma Lo Galya.

Even if you say that Liba Lefuma Lo Galya refers to Geula Ahishena, then, "discussing dates" doesn't necessarily indicate that we're talking about a Ge'ula Be'ita.

At Tue May 13, 11:45:00 AM 2008, Blogger yaak said...


This is not a retraction. I never said anything that I needed to retract. If I did, I would, but this is not one.

I don't know who MR. MELAMED is.

At Tue May 13, 12:15:00 PM 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did MRMELAMED write a response within a comment?

At Tue May 13, 12:24:00 PM 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, I saw that wrong. Ignore previous comment.

At Tue May 13, 12:43:00 PM 2008, Blogger גילוי said...

ליבא לפומא לא גליא I did not see in a Gemara search to look up what you are referring to. I did find it in the Midrash Ne'elam. I was just noticing yesterday that the entire sefer Midrash Ne'elam (which I am talking of separately from that which is printed inline with the Zohar) seems to have this line of thought throughout.

I say this with certainty based on many sources in Chazal, and you have seen some of them yourself. I will not quote the Gemara in Yerushalmi Brachot. More suitable is the passage in Kol HaTor that describes that the process is slow so that too much Din does not come upon Am Yisrael at once. Too much Din is not an issue with Achishenah, for we would be zocheh in the Din. It is literally a Chesed that Hashem is doing that Geulah B'Itah is not yet. The idea is further made explicit in the Midrash Ne'elam that was just posted on my blog. The last few paragraphs in particular.

Now, to be sure, there are auspicious times for Teshuvah. That is to say, times when the Teshuvah needed for Geulah Achishenah is easier. That is not related to the matter at hand with 5769.

Kol tuv.

At Tue May 13, 01:38:00 PM 2008, Blogger yaak said...

Sorry, I was mixing up phrases, but the gemara says something similar in Sanhedrin 99a:

רבי אומר ג' מאות וששים וחמש שנה כמנין ימות החמה שנאמר (ישעיהו סג) כי יום נקם בלבי ושנת גאולי באה מאי יום נקם בלבי א"ר יוחנן ללבי גליתי לאבריי לא גליתי ר"ש בן לקיש אמר ללבי גליתי למלאכי השרת לא גליתי

At Tue May 13, 01:49:00 PM 2008, Blogger nava said...

The Kadosh Elyon האדמו"ר מאסטראווצע, zs'l, author of Meir Enei Chachamim, wrote in his sefer that the third time that Am Israel will bless the sun Wednesday, 14 of Nissan will be in the year 5769. He writes, "This will be last time ever and shortly afterwards, the Geula MUST come, b'h!".

The original page of his sefer is posted on

Yaak, I think you misunderstood the point. There were many times Birkat Hachama was said (every 28 years) but not each time it was significant. The Tzaddik says that the first significant Birkat HaChama was the year Am Israel left Egypt; the second time in the year of the redemption of Mordechai HeYehudi and Esther HaMalka, a'h, - both were very significant.

The third time saying Birkat HaChama will be extremely significance on on Pesach 5769.
The year of the Geula

At Tue May 13, 01:54:00 PM 2008, Blogger גילוי said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At Tue May 13, 01:55:00 PM 2008, Blogger גילוי said...

Nava, Birkat HaChamah, according to our calculations, did not occur the year of the Exodus. Birkat HaChamah is said on any year where Year - 1 is evenly divisible by 28. 5769 - 1 = 5768 / 28 = 206.

2448 - 1 = 2447 / 28 = 87.39.

Birkat HaChamah did also not occur in the year in which according to the Mesorah the redemption of Esther took place. The closest Birkat HaChamah was 3417, years after Achashverosh passed away.

At Tue May 13, 04:36:00 PM 2008, Blogger nava said...

So you say but with all due respect, I prefer to believe The Kadosh Elyon האדמו"ר מאסטראווצע, zs'l, author of Meir Enei Chachamim and the Ostrovster Rebbi, zs'l.

In any case, according to the Mekubal Avraham Azulai, zs'l, the grandson of the Chida HaKodesh, zs'l, says in his sefer, Chesed Le'Avraham (Maayan 2, Nahar 59)that at the latest year of 5769, since the creation of the world, the Pasuk from Zechariah 13;2 "וְאֶת-רוּחַ הַטֻּמְאָה, אַעֲבִיר מִן-הָאָרֶץ and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land" will occur. As well as the Pasuk from Leviticus 26;6 "וְהִשְׁבַּתִּי חַיָּה רָעָה, מִן-הָאָרֶץ, וְחֶרֶב, לֹא-תַעֲבֹר בְּאַרְצְכֶם and I will cause evil beasts to cease out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land" will also occur.

In other words, the latest date possible that all impurities will cease in the world is at the end of 5769.

Definitely aligns with the Birkat Hachama.

At Tue May 13, 04:57:00 PM 2008, Blogger yaak said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At Tue May 13, 06:33:00 PM 2008, Blogger yaak said...

I just noticed an interesting answer to the Ostrovster Rebbe given by a website somewhere on the Internet that quotes R' Eliyahu Kitov. I had it linked earlier, but I subsequently noticed that the page has references to the New Testament, so I deleted the link.

I'll quote from his quote from The Book of Our Heritage, by R' Kitov:

Although we ordinarily say that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, anyone who has actually observed the rising and setting of the sun knows that where the sun rises and sets depends on the time of year. At tekufat Tammuz [the summer solstice] the rising and setting of the sun are at their northernmost point; from tekufat Tammuz until tekufat Teves [the winter solstice] the sun rises and sets further to the south each day, whereas from tekufat Tevet until tekufat Tammuz the sunrise and sunset move to the north. The midpoint of the sun's southward journey is tekufat Tishrei [the autumn equinox] and the midpoint of its northward journey is tekufat Nisan [the spring equinox]. The interval between a phase of this cycle and the corresponding phase of the next, for instance, between one tekufat Nisan and the next, is of course, the solar year of [approximately] 3651/4 days, which is 52 weeks and an additional 11/4 day.

Because of the additional 11/4 day, the tekufot move forward from year to year. For example, if in a particular year tekufat Nisan, not the whole day of the equinox, but the precise moment of the midpoint of the sun's northward journey, is at noon of the first day of the week, then the next year it will be at 6:00 P.M. of the second day of the week, the following year at midnight of the third day, and so on. After 28 years, the tekufot will have advanced exactly 35 days, that is, five whole weeks, and will occur on the same hour of the day and day of the week as in the first year.

There is a dispute in the Talmud as to whether the Creation took place in Nisan or Tishrei, and the halachah that we recite the blessing in Nisan is based on the opinion of R. Yehoshua, who holds that the Creation took place in Nisan. However, all agree that the sun was placed in the firmament in the first hour of the evening of the fourth day of the week [Tuesday night]. According to R. Yehoshua, this was at tekufat Nisan; thus every 28 years thereafter tekufat Nisan is at the first hour of the evening of the fourth day of the week [Tuesday night] and the sun is where it was placed when it was created; thereupon a new cycle begins. All agree, also, that the sun first rose in the skies of the Land of Israel twelve hours after it was created, that is, in the first hour of the morning of the fourth day, and it is then that we say the blessing.

The beginning of the solar cycle always occurs in the month of Nisan, and on the same day of the week [Tuesday night] although not always on the same day of the month. Sometimes it occurs at the beginning of the month, sometimes in the middle, and sometimes at the end. Only once in 532 years does the cycle begin on the same day of the month as it did at Creation. However, we do not take this into account for Birkat HaChamah, since the day of the month is determined by the moon, whereas the sun alone determines hours, days, and years. Therefore, a new solar cycle is considered to have begun when the 28 years have elapsed, and it is our duty to praise the Creator as if it were the day of the sun's Creation.

The Hebrew year 5769 (2009) will mark the completion of two hundred and six solar cycles, and in Nisan of that year, we will once again have the privilege of reciting the berachah. Although twenty-eight multiplied by two hundred and six equals 5768, our Sages explained that the natural order of the world was suspended during the year when the Flood occurred.

The author of the website then concludes:
Thus we see that of Kadosh Elyon’s statement that it has only occurred twice, pertains to the 532 year cycle that Eliyahu Kitov mentioned.

Of course, 19 x 28 = 532
It's when the Mahzor Hagadol and Mahzor Hakatan meet.

However, I still couldn't get the math to add up. Were Yetziat Mitzrayim and the Purim story a multiple of 532 from each other? Or Creation from Yetziat Mitzrayim? Or the Purim story until next year? Nothing added up.

At Tue May 13, 10:22:00 PM 2008, Blogger גילוי said...

Yaak, if you spend about 5 minutes going through Kaluach, you'll see that it isnt a 532 year cycle. Start on 5769, go back 28 years (back 3 decades, up 2 years) and you'll see more than 1 occurance of Birkat HaChamah on Erev Pesach within the last 532 years, and furthermore you will see that 532 years ago it was not on Erev Pesach.

The reason that there is no cycle is because it is 2 different year-length cycles. 365.25 and the year of Rav Adda.

At Tue May 13, 11:54:00 PM 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I propose a compromise.

1. Geula is about redeeming the truth. Truth does not bow to those who deny it. Let us acknowledge that the statement of the Ostrovster rebbe is flawed.
2. Nevertheless, assuming that the rebbe was a great Tzaddik, we must take into account that prophecy goes beyond reason. Therefore, his words may carry value even if based on flawed reasoning.
3. The rebbe did not say the Geula will be in the year that Birchat HaChama is on Erev Pesach. If the Geula would come in the 28 years of the cycle that starts next year, his prophecy can still considered to have been fulfilled.

At Wed May 14, 12:18:00 AM 2008, Blogger גילוי said...

The problem with that yishuv is that this teaching was said in regards to the Birkat HaChamah of 5685, not 5769.

At Wed May 14, 11:56:00 AM 2008, Blogger yaak said...

Nava's image of the Ostrovster Rebbe's sefer (thanks for this, by the way) says the following:

עוד אמר מאת בריאת העולם חל ג' פעמים קדוש החמה בערב פסח שנת יציאת מצרים מבואר בגמ' שאירע קדוש החמה בערב פסח שחל אז ביום ד' והקדוש השני...

Does anyone know where this Gemara is?

At Wed May 14, 12:27:00 PM 2008, Blogger גילוי said...

I don't know where this Gemara is. There is no phrase קידוש החמה or קדוש החמה that I could find.

But he does say that after the Birkat HaChamah that is Erev Pesach, it won't be long until the Geulah... that very much so is true, but that statement is very relative.

At Wed Feb 18, 08:03:00 PM 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

there's no ostrov rebe, you not normal

At Sun Mar 15, 10:26:00 AM 2009, Blogger Danny Schoemann said...

Let's not forget that the Ostrovster Rebbe wrote his "prediction" referring to 1925 and not 2009.

At Tue Mar 24, 02:30:00 PM 2009, Blogger Ariel Elisha said...

correct me if i'm wrong but i believe that you almost had it there.

this year is related to the other two times not because it is on erev pesach, but it is erev pesach following the shmittah year.

during yetziat mitzrayim the sun had been in this place, and it was the year following the shmittah. the year following the shmittah is in simpler terms, the first year of the 7 year cycle.

if this also happened in 1925 i'm mistaken. what i heard from several rabanim here was this, erev pesach plus first year of 7.

incidentally, 1925 was the year hitler published mein kampf.
which if there is a geulah now that there wasn't then, it would or could clearly be the time.

the gemara is in a few places
on berachot 59b, in pesachim towards the beginning like the third page, something relevant, rambam in hilchot brachot 10-18

At Tue Mar 24, 02:35:00 PM 2009, Blogger Ariel Elisha said...

hey wait aminute here.

rambam in hilchot melachim is extremely clear at the end of his words on the geulah/coming of moshiach.

i paraphrase, you can check it out yourself. "all i have said here regarding the arrival of moshiach are good things to believe. but no one knows until that day how it will actually be."

when it happens we will know
if it takes a day it takes a day
if it takes a year it takes a year.

i hope we don't want to stand on our cavod or care about being right
all we want to care about
is that its here now and we're all in this world totally transformed unreckognizable, just total chiddush total geulah.

this is what our whole lives are about moving towards
we should be wise to keep it limitless with our words, holy yidden!

also btw in massechet rosh hashanna i think rabbi akiva says that the torah says we have the power to call the dates even if we are right, even if we make a mistake, and even if we davka make it different bekavana, that w'ere given that power.

At Tue Mar 24, 03:37:00 PM 2009, Blogger yaak said...

Ariel Elisha,
Every single Birkat Hahama is the year after Shmitta, as 28 is divisible by 7. There's no Hidush in that.

At Tue Mar 24, 05:50:00 PM 2009, Blogger Long Beach Chasid said...

Lets see how good your math is.

7 years of shmitah and the year following it is the 1st year of the next cycle. So 4 shmitahs is 28 years. So by this math (and I fail at math) Birkas HaChamah can not happen after every Shmitah year.

When did Shmitah begin? Did it not begin when the Jews conqured Eretz Yisroel? So when was Birkas Hachamah back then? If every 28 years is a shmitah then in 5769 it will be rougly the 203rd Birkas Hachamah.

Im not making sense and this is very confusing.

All I know is that we are in no place to question the Tzaddikim whose knowledge of a leaf is more vast then all of our Torah knowledge.

Instead of worrying so much about what is true or not, I think our time is better spent learning Torah and performing Mitzvos so we can bring Moshiach before then!

At Fri Mar 27, 09:59:00 AM 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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