why sun ra has to be from saturn

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#1 Thu, 2009-04-23 14:44
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why sun ra has to be from saturn

i was googling about the 28 year cycle of the blessing of the sun (that happened a couple of weeks ago). i came across this very nice writeup that mentions "the stars were created on the fourth day [and since Saturn is considered the "first" of these "stars,"], ". as i read that, my thoughts were - saturn was the first created, so it makes absolute sense that sun ra should be from saturn and not any other planet. one of those keystone moments that locks everything else in place.

anyways, at the risk of boring, offending, and overflowing your email inbox, i am including a bigger snippet of that article.

I-) ihor


By Rabbi Arthur Waskow *

Early in the morning of April 8, 1981, I gathered with several hundred other people at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC, to watch the sun rise and to bless it in what is surely the rarest and perhaps the oddest of all Jewish ceremonies -- Birchat HaChamah, the Blessing of the Sun, that comes only once every 28 years. It commemorates, according to ancient tradition, the moment when God created the sun in the first place.

Ancient Jewish tradition (Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 59b) teaches: "Whoever sees the sun at its tekufah [transformative cycle-marker], the moon in its power, the stars [or planets] in their orbits, and the signs of the zodiac in their orderly progress, should say, 'Baruch oseh ma'aseh v'reshit. Blessed be the Doer of Deeds of "In the Beginning [Creation]."

The Talmud continues: "And when is that? Abbaye said: 'Every twenty-eight years when the cycle is repeated and Tekufat Nisan [the Spring Equinox] falls in Saturn on the evening of Tuesday, going into Wednesday."

What is this business about Saturn? Rabbi Miles Krassen of our own generation explains, "The relevant text for determining which planet rules a particular hour of the day is Rashi on Eruvin 56a, "ve-'eyn tequfah moshechet me-chavertah 'ela chatzi sha'ah."-- that is, each hour is ruled by a particular planet. As in the ancient geo-centric rabbinic cosmology there were 7 planets (including the sun and moon) and 24 hours in a day, the first hour (twilight) of each day has a different ruling planet. [Remember, each Jewish day begins at sunset, so twilight is the first hour of each day.]

Saturn is indeed the first planet in the cycle but rules at different hours each day. Since, according to rabbinic tradition, the stars were created on the fourth day [and since Saturn is considered the "first" of these "stars,"], Saturn rules the twilight hour every Tuesday (the first hour of the fourth day. To be clear: Saturn rules the first hour only on Tuesday evening. Every other day begins with a different ruling planet and the planet rules for only one hour. The Baraita in Berakhot only establishes on what day the blessing for the Sun is said. The "day" begins in the evening, but the blessing itself is said the following morning [when the sun becomes visible].

That moment comes again April 8, 2009. (Which this year happens to be the morning of the day before the first night of Passover, an extremely rare confluence.)