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On Simchat Torah we read the last passage of the Torah, but we don’t stop for even a moment when we finish reading the Torah. Instead, we turn around and start over immediately from the first verse. There are many celebrations on Simchat Torah, but they come before we read …

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Home » High Holidays

New Year Greeting 5769

Submitted by on October 5, 2008 – 2:14 amNo Comment | 1,345 views

It is a new year, which of course, reminds us of new beginnings. At this time rabbis are expected to intone somber words about new resolutions in the context of Judaism, but I want to look elsewhere this year. It is much easier to thrive spiritually when we are gifted with material abundance and in this regard we are concerned not only for ourselves, but for the entire Jewish community especially as regards the fate of our brethren in Israel.

I speak of the rising cost of fuel that has been the hallmark of the year 5768. Increasing demand and decreasing or stagnant supply have driven fuel costs to astronomical heights. We realize the dangers of exclusive reliance on a finite commodity and of increased dependence on Oil Producing States. We also realize the staggering effect that fossil fuel consumptions have on our environment. These concerns and rising costs have spurred research into alternative fuel sources. One such source that does not depend on a depleting commodity is solar energy. The complications of extracting, storing and delivering solar energy inefficient and cost effective measures are staggering, but science is slowly making inroads.

Here comes the rabbinical part. The year 5769 is, from a spiritual perspective, particularly well suited to solar energy. Every twenty eight years Jews celebrate the Divine blessing of the sun; we convene outdoors to chant blessings and praise to G-d for the gift of the sun.  This tradition is rooted in ancient calculations that predict the precise location of the sun, vis-à-vis the earth, at the moment of creation. When the sun reaches this position on or around the fourth day of the week in the month of Nissan, an event that occurs only once every twenty-eight years, the celebrations are held.

This event always occurs in the first half of the month of Nissan, but, as many have noted, it has occurred only twice in the course of history on Erev Pesach and in both cases great miracles transpired; once in the year of the exodus from Egypt and the other in the year of Purim. This year, for the third time in history, the celebration will occur on Erev Pesach. Let us hope that this omen bodes well for solar related blessings. As we pray to G-d during the High Holidays let us keep in mind the blessings of the sun and the incredible benefit that, Israel our people,  Israel our land and the whole of humanity could derive from the discovery of an efficient  and cost effective method for storing and delivering environmentally clean solar energy.

May this be the year – Shanah Tovah.

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