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Jerusalem - Prof. An Expert On 'Birchas Hachama': New Zealand Is The Most Accurate Place To Recite

Published on: April 3, 2009 09:18 AM
By: VIN News By Ezra Reichman |Bakehila and Hashavua B'Yerushalayim
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Prof. Nissim Vidal is considered the worlds most expert on Birkas HachamaProf. Nissim Vidal is considered the worlds most expert on Birkas Hachama

Jerusalem - Prof. Rav Nissim Vidal is in popular demand during these pre-Birchas Hachama days. Certified as Israel’s first astronomer, Prof. Vidal runs the Institute for Teaching Science and Technology in Jerusalem, and works at the Mitzpeh Rimon Observatory. He trained in the Royal Greenwich Observatory in England, and served as a guest lecturer in the past at Washington and Harvard Universities. He has written his own book about Birchas Hachama and “Tzva Ha’shamayim”, a two-volume introduction to astronomy in Hebrew, which includes many diagrams and photographs

Prof. Vidal combines his professional credentials in astronomy with mastery of Jewish studies.

Vidal says his interest in astronomy goes back to his childhood years in Cairo. “When I was a youth, I researched divrei Chazal for their insights in astronomy. I was attracted to questions on existence and the universe.” When he made aliya to Israel, he studied physics in the Hebrew University, graduating with a B.A. and M.A. with a specialty in astronomy.

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“It’s actually a mitzvah to learn astronomy,” he explains. “The gemora in meseches Shabbos (75a) says that it’s a mitzvah to calculate tekufos and mazalos, as the verse says ‘for it is your wisdom and understand before the nations.’ “

Vidal avers that science only strengthens belief in a Creator and His greatness. The assumption that religion and science are contradictory has no basis in fact.

“The fact is that up to 100 years ago, the greatest scientists believed in a Creator. The physicist Newton had written in his Bible next to a verse that contained Hashem’s name twice ‘The Masters of masters, the G-d of Israel.’

“All the modern astronomical findings, without exception, are properly explained through our faith. We and the others see the same existence of stars and far off galaxies through telescopes, and each one explains it in his way—we through divine providence and faith, and them—superficially, without purpose or meaning,” he asserts.

Vidal says that Chazal spoke about a “nartik” which surrounds the sun orb. In the past, no one knew what this meant, but today, modern science has discovered that the sun has a protective sheath which filters out the scorching gases and destructive rays, without which life would not be possible on earth. These phenomenon buried deep in the sun are as powerful as atom bombs, but the sun’s sheath encloses most of them, and the remaining dangerous rays are filtered out by the earth’s atmosphere.

“If anything, modern science proves how precise are the Torah’s words,” Vidal confirms.

Vidal says that one who wants to recite Birchas Hachama at the very second when the sun was created, should be in New Zealand at 6:00 p.m.—which corresponds to netz in Israel. “We have a kabala that during the Six Days of Creation, that day’s creation was created at the beginning of the day—which in Judaism starts in the night,” he says.

He says that since the creation of the world 5769 years ago until the upcoming 14 Nissan, there have been 206 cycles of 28 years.

“The Jewish calendar is based on a combination of sun years and moon years. The gemora brings the controversy between Rabbi Yoshua and Rabbi Eliezer concerning whether the world was created in Nissan or Tishrei. The chochomim say like Rav Yoshua, so the sun year starts in Nissan. The Torah itself tells us that the ‘seventh month’ is Tishrei.

“However, the moon year begins in Tishrei—and our holidays are fixed according to the moon. That’s why an extra month is added—Adar II—to ensure the holidays occur at their proper seasons. At any event, even if a holiday was calculated improperly, the Bais Din shel Maalah accepts the dates set for the holidays by the Bais Din shel Matah. This point was powerfully brought across in the gemora by the story of Rav Yoshua, who disagreed with the calculation of the rosh Sanhedrin, Rav Gamliel, concerning the date of Yom Kippur, and Rav Gamliel demanded that he come to him on his Yom Kippur with his ‘staff and basket’ - to show everyone that only the leadership can determine such things. Holidays, roshei chodoshim and fasts are determined by the chochomim.”

Only Shabbos is fixed from heaven, coming to the Jewish people every 7 days. How do we know that the Shabbos we are keeping is the seventh day from creation? All doubt was removed when a double portion of manna fell on the sixth day and none on Shabbos. Since then, Jews have been keeping Shabbos non-stop.”

Prof. Vidal says that calculating time according to the sun is an ancient practice which goes back to the Chaldeans. Old shards had been found from the period of the Bayis Rishon and perhaps even older that have calculations of the new moon on them, and one even has the King instructing the people to add another month of “Adro” that year.

“By the way, Josephus writes in his book Antiquities of the Jews that astronomy came from the Chaldeans, who learned it from their father Arpachshad (from whom the shorter version of his name Kesed is translated as “Chaldean”) ben Shem. He also writes that Shem ben Noach was a great astronomer.

“When I was in Paris a few years ago, I entered a store that sold books on astronomy, and found a book written by the last French monarch,” Vidal says. “I was fascinated by the contents—the author writes that he researched Chinese, ancient Babylonian, Indian and Jewish astronomy, as well as many others, and reached the conclusion that they all came from the same source going back 4,500 years—that’s the period of Noach, from whom Shem derived knowledge of astronomy and passed it to his son Arpachshad. From him, the wisdom spread through the entire world.

“Calculating the calendar is an enormously complex skill. Much trouble was caused by the fact that the sun year is 365 days plus close to a quarter day. Five hundred years ago, they had to wipe out 15 days from the calendar, which caused strikes and demonstrations by workers who wanted to get paid wages for those 15 days… That gave rise to the Gregorian calendar which many people use today, although the older Julian calendar is also widely in use.”

Vidal explains that there are actually 3 different Jewish ways to calculate a sun-year.

1. Shmuel’s method considers a sun-year exactly 365.25 days long, and adding 7 leap months over 19 years doesn’t exactly balance it out, but leaves an approximate 1 1/2 hours over. According to this calculation, Pesach keeps falling behind towards the winter. At the rate of 1 1/2 hours every 19 months, it loses 3.3 days every 1000 years. Birchas Hachama is fixed according to this method, as is the time when Tal Umotor is recited in chutz la’aretz.

2. Rav Ada’s method puts a sun year at 365 days, 5 hours, 55 minutes and 25 seconds. According to this, 19 moon years and another 7 moon months, equal 19 sun years exactly.

3. The length of the sun year accepted today is 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds. This measurement causes Pesach to fall later in the summer at the rate of 4.5 days every thousand years. But, Vidal offers final words of comfort, at least until the end of the sixth millennium, Pesach won’t come later than the spring.



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Total64

Read Comments (64)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Apr 03, 2009 at 09:07 AM Anonymous Says:

Can someone explain what it means for the sun to be in the same spot it was in at the moment of its creation? I thought we move around the sun and the sun stays put, (other than to the extent that the entire milky way is rotating - but with the earth and sun on an outer arm of the milky way, that rotation takes over 100 million years).

2

 Apr 03, 2009 at 09:01 AM Anonymous Says:

If he will be in New Zealand on Tuesday at ^ PM at recite the Berucheh it will be a big fat Berucheh Le'vaatuleh

3

 Apr 03, 2009 at 09:35 AM Anonymous Says:

the sun was created on the first day, but hashem "hung" is on wedensday - See Rashi Bereshis 1:14

4

 Apr 03, 2009 at 09:57 AM some knowledge Says:

The sun stays put in the milky way and earth goes around, counter-clock-wise. this this orbit circle takes 365 days plus some hours more.
Besides that, earth rotats on its own axis and this turn takes 24 hours and thats what makes light and dark.
besides that, earth is bent some 23 degree when alien with other planets. so when it makes the yearly circle, the upper and lower parts change there exposure to the sun. and thats what makes seasons. (without that there would have been a solar and moon eclipse every 30 days.)

5

 Apr 03, 2009 at 09:43 AM Concerned Member Says:

#2 would you care to elaborate for us why you have paskened that way?

6

 Apr 03, 2009 at 09:42 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

If he will be in New Zealand on Tuesday at ^ PM at recite the Berucheh it will be a big fat Berucheh Le'vaatuleh

Not necessarily, according to some it works out fine

7

 Apr 03, 2009 at 09:40 AM Anonymous Says:

The sun reached the same spot it was placed at creation every single year but not at the same time since it takes more than 52 weeks to circle. So if it started its circle on tues night 6pm next year tues 6pm it didn't finish its circling yet but ecery 28 years it ends up at that spot at the exact time and date, tues 6pm.

8

 Apr 03, 2009 at 10:17 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

The sun reached the same spot it was placed at creation every single year but not at the same time since it takes more than 52 weeks to circle. So if it started its circle on tues night 6pm next year tues 6pm it didn't finish its circling yet but ecery 28 years it ends up at that spot at the exact time and date, tues 6pm.

Don't the leap years correct for that?

9

 Apr 03, 2009 at 10:44 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

If he will be in New Zealand on Tuesday at ^ PM at recite the Berucheh it will be a big fat Berucheh Le'vaatuleh

#2
If we would say it Tuesday afternoon it would be a Bracha Livatalah but in in New Zealand its already Wednesday morning which is the proper time to say it.

10

 Apr 03, 2009 at 10:41 AM Anonymous Says:

You are a bunch of kofrim. The sun goes around the earth not the other way. Einstein disproved Gallileo and we are left with the words of Chazal for even those who would accept Gallileo's word against Chazal. If you do not believe this you are worse than Slifkin.

11

 Apr 03, 2009 at 10:41 AM anon Says:

Reply to #5  
Concerned Member Says:

#2 would you care to elaborate for us why you have paskened that way?

Because the brocho has to be said during the day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12

 Apr 03, 2009 at 10:37 AM Anonymous Says:

How come 5769 is the right year if it's not divisible by 28?

13

 Apr 03, 2009 at 10:11 AM Rabbi Shmuel Says:

While it is true that the dates are set for the holidays by the Bais Din shel Matah,
the gemarah said the brachah is only recited if you see the sun at the time of the vernal equinox, when the sun would be in the same location as at the time of creation. You cannot change the location of the sun by rabbinical decree. This exact time must be accurateley, and truthfully calculated.

14

 Apr 03, 2009 at 10:09 AM Anonymous Says:

I think he ment to say that netz hachamo in New Zeland will be at the same time hkb"h hung up the sun wich is Tuesday night 6:00 pm

15

 Apr 03, 2009 at 10:06 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
some knowledge Says:

The sun stays put in the milky way and earth goes around, counter-clock-wise. this this orbit circle takes 365 days plus some hours more.
Besides that, earth rotats on its own axis and this turn takes 24 hours and thats what makes light and dark.
besides that, earth is bent some 23 degree when alien with other planets. so when it makes the yearly circle, the upper and lower parts change there exposure to the sun. and thats what makes seasons. (without that there would have been a solar and moon eclipse every 30 days.)

But what is this 28 year cycle based on? What happens on Birchas Hachama?

16

 Apr 03, 2009 at 10:03 AM to num 1 Says:

To our perspective on Earth, the relationship between the Sun and the zodiac will be the same as by the first sunrise on the fourth day of creation. Of course we cannot see any starts of the zodiac (mazalos) while the sun is shining but it is a celebratioin of the exact precise cycle that Hashem in his kindness direct the universe.

17

 Apr 03, 2009 at 10:06 AM Rabbi Says:

to # 1 seems u know somhting but very little, I advise you go out buy rabbi blumnkrantz's pesach book he has a section on this issue, I think u will like it.

18

 Apr 03, 2009 at 11:25 AM Take it Easy Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

If he will be in New Zealand on Tuesday at ^ PM at recite the Berucheh it will be a big fat Berucheh Le'vaatuleh

6am in New Zealand is actually 6pm in Israel and that's when it was "Nitly Hameoros" at the bruah.........

19

 Apr 03, 2009 at 11:22 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

How come 5769 is the right year if it's not divisible by 28?

because if rosh hashana would be rosh chodesh nissan, we eould be now in 5770

20

 Apr 03, 2009 at 11:59 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

How come 5769 is the right year if it's not divisible by 28?

Excellent question. I believe the answer is because when the world was created, that was day 1 of year zero not day 1 of year 1, then 12 months passed and that became the beginning of year number 1 although it is actually the beginning of year number 2. So, in year number 10, say, that is the beginning of Year 11 since creation. Similarly, year 5769 is actually 5768 years from creation and 5768 divided by 28 is 206 even. SO this is the 206th birthday of the Sun. Think about it a little. You will get it.

21

 Apr 03, 2009 at 12:31 PM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #10  
Anonymous Says:

You are a bunch of kofrim. The sun goes around the earth not the other way. Einstein disproved Gallileo and we are left with the words of Chazal for even those who would accept Gallileo's word against Chazal. If you do not believe this you are worse than Slifkin.

This is not true. Einstein agreed with Galileo and Newton that the earth and sun revolve around their center of gravity, which basically means that the earth revolves around the sun since the sun is so much more massive. Einstein's relativistic correction affects the orbit of Mercury, but not the orbit of the earth.

22

 Apr 03, 2009 at 12:33 PM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #10  
Anonymous Says:

You are a bunch of kofrim. The sun goes around the earth not the other way. Einstein disproved Gallileo and we are left with the words of Chazal for even those who would accept Gallileo's word against Chazal. If you do not believe this you are worse than Slifkin.

Whether or not New Zealand is the ideal spot depends on the precise location of the halachic date line, which is a machloket poskim. A number of sefarim have been written on this matter.

23

 Apr 03, 2009 at 12:01 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #19  
Anonymous Says:

because if rosh hashana would be rosh chodesh nissan, we eould be now in 5770

What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Chaim, Yankel, Bodem, Klutz- which is what u r. Shmendrick. Abi Geredt.

24

 Apr 03, 2009 at 01:32 PM Anonymous Says:

Since the earth moves around the sun, the sun moves in the Milky Way, other stars move as well, and the Milky Way itself moves- the Constellations do not appear now as they did over 5000 years ago.

25

 Apr 03, 2009 at 01:51 PM bunch of hockers Says:

Reply to #10  
Anonymous Says:

You are a bunch of kofrim. The sun goes around the earth not the other way. Einstein disproved Gallileo and we are left with the words of Chazal for even those who would accept Gallileo's word against Chazal. If you do not believe this you are worse than Slifkin.

actually chazel admitted that the chachim umos haolem might be correct in this matter. We are not sure if they were just trying to get them off their backs or they really thought they were right. However Einstein did not disprove this thery he simply proved that we are unable to tell which one is going around the other. When you are driving next to a truck and the truck starts backing up. It is hard to tell if the Truck is moving or you are! Its a gemorah in mesachtas pesachim

26

 Apr 03, 2009 at 11:57 AM Mathematician Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

How come 5769 is the right year if it's not divisible by 28?

5768 is divisible by 28 and marks 206 complete cycles. 5769 is the first year of Cycle 207.

27

 Apr 03, 2009 at 02:16 PM shlomo Says:

Mistake in article - says 1.5 hours every 19 months, it is every 19 years

28

 Apr 03, 2009 at 02:17 PM Anonymous Says:

#19's reply to my question (“ How come 5769 is the right year if it's not divisible by 28? ”) is totally nonsensical. 5770 is also not divisible by 28!

#20's answer at least shows some thought, but it is incorrect. All Jewish time (and "anniversaries") start from 0. Thus a barmitza boy is 13 from the day he is born (Day One, Year Zero), not from the end of year one. It you do it your way, he would be 14 at his barmitzva. Good try though! "A" for effort. "F" for failure.

#23's comment is not worth responding to.

#26's thoughtful reponse ("5768 is divisible by 28 and marks 206 complete cycles. 5769 is the first year of Cycle 207"), has a few fallacies. Firstly, it requires "skipping" a year before starting the next cycle. Even if he is correct, it doesn't work. If you start a 28 year cycle from 5769 you get 5797 which (sorry to disappoint) is also NOT divisible by 28!








29

 Apr 03, 2009 at 03:43 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #19  
Anonymous Says:

because if rosh hashana would be rosh chodesh nissan, we eould be now in 5770

Not really. 1. nissan would be rosh hashana 5769. But anyway, 5770 isn't devisable by 28 either. But 5768 is. That is because we don't count the years form year 0 but from year 1. So 5769 - 1 = 5768.

30

 Apr 03, 2009 at 03:49 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

How come 5769 is the right year if it's not divisible by 28?

when the first cycle is finished its already the 29th year so first birkas hachama was the 29th year, so always add 1 then divide by 28

31

 Apr 03, 2009 at 03:16 PM Anonymous Says:

It doesn't really matter being that Birkas hachama is now 19 days after the vernal equinox when it was supposed to be due to Mar Shmuel's calculations being off (from the beginning as proved by Rav Adda bar Ahava, although we don't pasken like him).

32

 Apr 03, 2009 at 02:53 PM Anonymous Says:

Einstein did NOT say it's impossible to prove which goes around which. His physics indicates that both bodies orbit around a common center of gravity. Given the immense disparity in the mass of the sun and earth, that orbital center is deep inside the sun. so for all practical purposes,the earth orbits around the sun and the sun wobbles very slightly because of the influence of the earth.

33

 Apr 03, 2009 at 05:28 PM Joseph Says:

In The Philosophy of Space and Time (1928) by Hans Reichenbach, a disciple of Einstein (at the University of Berlin, where Einstein first taught relativity), he demonstrates that all the following concepts are clearly shown possible from a scientific point of view:

1. The earth stands still and the sun revolves around it,

2. The sun stands still and the earth revolves around it,

3. Both are revolving around a certain point.

There is no way to prove which of the above is correct or preferable.

In the second century BCE, Ptolemy perfected Aristotle's construction of how the sun and the planets revolve around the Earth in circular orbits with additional rotation around certain points on these orbits. About 1600 years later, Nicholas Copernicus made a revolution in astronomy by describing the Earth as going around the sun. A little later, Johannes Kepler described the orbits as elliptical, and by a century after that, Isaac Newton had reinforced this picture with his law of gravitation. In the 20th Century, Albert Einstein's theory of relativity eliminated the idea of absolute space and absolute movement.

34

 Apr 04, 2009 at 05:00 AM New Zealander Says:

Reply to #28  
Anonymous Says:

#19's reply to my question (“ How come 5769 is the right year if it's not divisible by 28? ”) is totally nonsensical. 5770 is also not divisible by 28!

#20's answer at least shows some thought, but it is incorrect. All Jewish time (and "anniversaries") start from 0. Thus a barmitza boy is 13 from the day he is born (Day One, Year Zero), not from the end of year one. It you do it your way, he would be 14 at his barmitzva. Good try though! "A" for effort. "F" for failure.

#23's comment is not worth responding to.

#26's thoughtful reponse ("5768 is divisible by 28 and marks 206 complete cycles. 5769 is the first year of Cycle 207"), has a few fallacies. Firstly, it requires "skipping" a year before starting the next cycle. Even if he is correct, it doesn't work. If you start a 28 year cycle from 5769 you get 5797 which (sorry to disappoint) is also NOT divisible by 28!








Actually the Shevach Hamoadim cites somewhere that the reason the year is 5769 and not '68, is because of the Mabul. In the year of the Mabul the stars didn't work

35

 Apr 03, 2009 at 05:27 PM Joseph Says:

According to Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity (specifically General Relativity’s [laws of gravitation] principle of equivalence: “There is no experiment observers can perform to distinguish whether an acceleration arises because of a gravitational force or because their reference frame is accelerating”), the following two statements are functionally equivalent:

1. The Sun rotates around the Earth.
2. The Earth rotates around the Sun.

This is derived on a non-inertial reference frame. From the perspective of an Earth-centered reference frame, the Sun does indeed orbit around the Earth. In General Relativity, all reference frames are equally valid.

To put it more simply, all motion is relative. Relative to humanity, the Earth is not rotating. For most of history, the Sun was said to circle the Earth. Copernicus, changed sciences viewpoint, so that Earth rotated around the Sun. Newton changed it again, and said that Earth and Sun rotate about a common center of gravity. Einstein changed it again. He described General Relativity - in which all motion is relative. In General Relativity, you can use any frame of reference. Relative to humanity, the Sun revolves around the Earth.

Yes, it is a bit harder to explain stellar parallax from the perspective of an Earth-fixed reference frame than from the perspective of a solar system barycentric reference frame.

On the other hand, it is extremely difficult to explain a cyclone from the perspective of a solar system barycentric reference frame. No meteorologist would even think of using anything other than an Earth-fixed reference frame to model the weather.

BTW, it's not all that hard to explain stellar parallax from the perspective of an Earth-centered frame. The motion of the stars can be explained in terms of the "third body effect". People who model the behavior of satellites in Earth orbit vastly prefer to use an "Earth-centered inertial" reference frame (a non-rotating reference frame with origin at the center of the Earth) than a barycentric frame. From the perspective of such a reference frame, the Sun and Moon (and the planets) make the satellite's orbit not quite Keplerian. The perturbation is explained by a pseudo-force called the third body effect.

36

 Apr 03, 2009 at 05:24 PM Anonymous Says:

#29 is incorrect and should refer to my previous answer in #28. Meanwhile, #30 is just a (wild) guess, which is why it's not even close. So far, no one has it right. With all the "excitement" surrounding this ancient Birkas hachama bracha, shouldn't there be at least one VIN reader who knows the basics?



37

 Apr 04, 2009 at 08:43 PM Joseph Says:

According to Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity (specifically General Relativity’s [laws of gravitation] principle of equivalence: “There is no experiment observers can perform to distinguish whether an acceleration arises because of a gravitational force or because their reference frame is accelerating”), the following two statements are functionally equivalent:

1. The Sun rotates around the Earth.
2. The Earth rotates around the Sun.

This is derived on a non-inertial reference frame. From the perspective of an Earth-centered reference frame, the Sun does indeed orbit around the Earth. In General Relativity, all reference frames are equally valid.

To put it more simply, all motion is relative. Relative to humanity, the Earth is not rotating. For most of history, the Sun was said to circle the Earth. Copernicus, changed sciences viewpoint, so that Earth rotated around the Sun. Newton changed it again, and said that Earth and Sun rotate about a common center of gravity. Einstein changed it again. He described General Relativity - in which all motion is relative. In General Relativity, you can use any frame of reference. Relative to humanity, the Sun revolves around the Earth.

Yes, it is a bit harder to explain stellar parallax from the perspective of an Earth-fixed reference frame than from the perspective of a solar system barycentric reference frame.

On the other hand, it is extremely difficult to explain a cyclone from the perspective of a solar system barycentric reference frame. No meteorologist would even think of using anything other than an Earth-fixed reference frame to model the weather.

BTW, it's not all that hard to explain stellar parallax from the perspective of an Earth-centered frame. The motion of the stars can be explained in terms of the "third body effect". People who model the behavior of satellites in Earth orbit vastly prefer to use an "Earth-centered inertial" reference frame (a non-rotating reference frame with origin at the center of the Earth) than a barycentric frame. From the perspective of such a reference frame, the Sun and Moon (and the planets) make the satellite's orbit not quite Keplerian. The perturbation is explained by a pseudo-force called the third body effect.

38

 Apr 04, 2009 at 08:46 PM Anonymous Says:

#37: the loss of a year (5769, instead of 5768) as a result of the Mabul cannot be the reason. If "time" stood still so did the calendar

Reply »

39

 Apr 03, 2009 at 04:05 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #28  
Anonymous Says:

#19's reply to my question (“ How come 5769 is the right year if it's not divisible by 28? ”) is totally nonsensical. 5770 is also not divisible by 28!

#20's answer at least shows some thought, but it is incorrect. All Jewish time (and "anniversaries") start from 0. Thus a barmitza boy is 13 from the day he is born (Day One, Year Zero), not from the end of year one. It you do it your way, he would be 14 at his barmitzva. Good try though! "A" for effort. "F" for failure.

#23's comment is not worth responding to.

#26's thoughtful reponse ("5768 is divisible by 28 and marks 206 complete cycles. 5769 is the first year of Cycle 207"), has a few fallacies. Firstly, it requires "skipping" a year before starting the next cycle. Even if he is correct, it doesn't work. If you start a 28 year cycle from 5769 you get 5797 which (sorry to disappoint) is also NOT divisible by 28!








From the Star K site:
III. Why Every 28 Years?

When the world was created, the sun and moon were created on the Wednesday of the week of bri'as haolam (creation of the world). On that day, the beginning of spring11 (known as “Tekufas Nissan”) was at 6:00 p.m., on Tuesday the beginning of the halachic day Wednesday.12

It takes approximately 365 days and 6 hours13 for the Earth to completely revolve one time around the sun. This is equal to 52 weeks, 1 day and 6 hours. Therefore, in the following year (after the world was created) spring began early Thursday at midnight (midnight early Thursday is one day of the week and 6 hours after Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.). The following year it began at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, the following year at noon on Shabbos and the year after that at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Every four years, the time of the tekufa moved five days of the week later (e.g. from 6:00 p.m. Tuesday to 6:00 p.m. Sunday). After 28 years,14 it returned to the same time that it was at Brias Haolam, 6:00 p.m. Tuesday the beginning of “Lail Revi’i” (halachically Wednesday). So, in year 29 (counting from the creation), 57, 85, 113 and every 28th year after that, including most recently in 5713 (1953) and 5741 (1981) the tekufa was at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday and Birchas Hachama was recited the next day. Once again, it will be at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday this year. After this year, the next time Birchas Hachama will be recited will be in 5797 (2037) and then again in 5825 (2065
In other words, in the first 29th year, it reached the same place/time it was when it was born , Tues 6 pm. So it had to Complete a cycle to get to the same place/time. This is different than calculating age of a bar mitzvah boy. There its his Bday. Here its a specific time and place in the sky which due to the length of days in a year pushes it off its Bday.

40

 Apr 04, 2009 at 09:17 PM Gruntig Says:

Reply to #14  
Anonymous Says:

I think he ment to say that netz hachamo in New Zeland will be at the same time hkb"h hung up the sun wich is Tuesday night 6:00 pm

I thought the same. Since 6pm Tuesday evening in NZ is 6AM on "Tuesday" is Israel, since Israel is in an earlier time zone then NZ. The sun was created Wednesday / Tuesday evening!

But the way you put, works out well. Since Tuesday evening at 6PM in Israel which is the time Hashem created the sun is 6am Wednesday morning in New Zealand.

41

 Apr 04, 2009 at 09:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

How come 5769 is the right year if it's not divisible by 28?

sun placed in world on day 4 of year one. Exactly 28 years later is day 4 of year 29. Etc Etc. until 5769.

42

 Apr 04, 2009 at 09:22 PM Gruntig Says:

Reply to #18  
Take it Easy Says:

6am in New Zealand is actually 6pm in Israel and that's when it was "Nitly Hameoros" at the bruah.........

That’s true but what was written in the article was “If he will be in New Zealand on Tuesday at 6"PM" etc" Tuesday evening 6pm in NZ is 6am "Tuesday morning" in Israel. The bracha has to be made on Wednesday

43

 Apr 04, 2009 at 09:28 PM time traveler Says:

There is only a ten hour time difference between Israel and New Zealand. I believe he means that it is the earliest possible time to make the Bracha, not the exact moment the sun was placed

44

 Apr 04, 2009 at 09:37 PM Joseph Says:

Once should never confuse science with scientists. Science is knowledge; scientists are people, complete with their own agendas, weaknesses, and dishonesties. Their PhD’s do not make them any more moral or honest or objective than truck drivers.

And so, the “proof” cited for evolution by scientists, from so-called “vestigial” organs, that is organs in the human body (and animals bodies) that have no purpose, but are similar in design to a organ in an animal that does have a purpose, shows that our bodies are later versions of those animal bodies, and those organs are kind of “left overs” from the olden days when we needed them.

Here is an example of how scientists like to make believe that their own words, even if unsubstantiated and unverified, constitute “science”.

Of course, there is no scientific evidence that any organ has no purpose. The most scientists can say is that they have not found a purpose. As if the fact that they haven’t found a purpose means that there is none. As in the above example, they have been wrong many times, even when they were so sure of themselves. This is why, not long ago, they would cut out your tonsils if they got inflamed with tonsillitis. They were so sure that because they could not find a use for the tonsils, that means there is no use, that they would actually remove hundreds of thousands of them from the human body as if they were, well, useless organs. The scientists have made several other mistakes in this area as well, relying on their arrogance to conclude that “Since WE don’t know of a purpose for this organ, therefore, it has no purpose.”

How arrogant, and how ridiculous!

Here is where the Torah’s view of science diverges from that of the scientists.

Says the Rambam: “How does one come to love and fear Him? When one ponders His actions and His creations, and sees in them intelligence that has no measure and no end.” (Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 2:2)

The wisdom of Hashem Himself is manifest in the wonderful world we live in, and since His wisdom is infinite, the wisdom contained in the world is infinite.

And so, no matter how much wisdom scientists discover in the universe, it is nothing compared to what they have not yet discovered . Therefore, the idea that “if we big shot scientists, with our great knowledge of the universe, cannot find a purpose for this organ, it must have no purpose”

Scientists may understand a lot, but compared to what there is to understand, they know nothing. The scientist – not science, but the scientist, in his arrogance – has no idea how much more he has yet to discover, how wonderful and immeasurable and boundless are the wonders of Hashem’s world.

And the fact that these organs “are similar” in structure to organs in other animals does not constitute any evidence of one organ “descending” from the other. The real reason why organs are similar in different species is because they were made by the same Designer. A nickel is similar to a quarter but it doesn’t mean one evolved form the other. This reasoning of theirs, that similarity in structure and appearance implies a relationship is based on the assumption that there is no single designer for both. Once you take the Designer out of the picture, it is indeed a weird coincidence that two organs in apparently unrelated species, one of which seems not to have a purpose, bears an uncanny similarity to the other. The “logic” of evolution – what of it that can be called logic – is all based on the assumption that there is no Creator.

Now the question is: IF there is no creator, how did we get here? IF there is no Creator, then why do these organs seems so similar? The entire nonsense is only assumptions and wishful thinking, not logic or reason.

Science is infinite. Scientists are finite. For scientists to say that because they do not see intelligence in an organ therefore there must be no intelligence is not base on any scientific evidence; it is nothing but the assumption of the scientists, based on the arrogant idea that if they don’t see it, it’s not there.

Such an attitude does not honor science; it reduces science to a discoverable, finite subject matter, whose limits are somehow measurable by the yardstick of what “scientists” have figured out. None of that is the result of any scientific evidence at all – just the arrogance of the scientist.

45

 Apr 04, 2009 at 10:30 PM Incredulous Says:

Did someone above actually posit that the Sun rotates around the Earth? Please say it's not so! Does anyone seriously believe this nonsense?

46

 Apr 04, 2009 at 10:18 PM mottel Says:

Reply to #35  
Joseph Says:

According to Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity (specifically General Relativity’s [laws of gravitation] principle of equivalence: “There is no experiment observers can perform to distinguish whether an acceleration arises because of a gravitational force or because their reference frame is accelerating”), the following two statements are functionally equivalent:

1. The Sun rotates around the Earth.
2. The Earth rotates around the Sun.

This is derived on a non-inertial reference frame. From the perspective of an Earth-centered reference frame, the Sun does indeed orbit around the Earth. In General Relativity, all reference frames are equally valid.

To put it more simply, all motion is relative. Relative to humanity, the Earth is not rotating. For most of history, the Sun was said to circle the Earth. Copernicus, changed sciences viewpoint, so that Earth rotated around the Sun. Newton changed it again, and said that Earth and Sun rotate about a common center of gravity. Einstein changed it again. He described General Relativity - in which all motion is relative. In General Relativity, you can use any frame of reference. Relative to humanity, the Sun revolves around the Earth.

Yes, it is a bit harder to explain stellar parallax from the perspective of an Earth-fixed reference frame than from the perspective of a solar system barycentric reference frame.

On the other hand, it is extremely difficult to explain a cyclone from the perspective of a solar system barycentric reference frame. No meteorologist would even think of using anything other than an Earth-fixed reference frame to model the weather.

BTW, it's not all that hard to explain stellar parallax from the perspective of an Earth-centered frame. The motion of the stars can be explained in terms of the "third body effect". People who model the behavior of satellites in Earth orbit vastly prefer to use an "Earth-centered inertial" reference frame (a non-rotating reference frame with origin at the center of the Earth) than a barycentric frame. From the perspective of such a reference frame, the Sun and Moon (and the planets) make the satellite's orbit not quite Keplerian. The perturbation is explained by a pseudo-force called the third body effect.

The actual solar mass, revolving centrally on an elliptical motion, causes the rotation on its axis as per newton's theory.
Conversely, using the actual lunar revolution as a basis for calculating the density of the planetary motions, leads to slight discrepancies in the totality of the calendrical cylinder.
Einstein's theory notwithstanding, the completion of the solar cycle within a spherical complexity, points to orbital positivity and relative negativity

47

 Apr 05, 2009 at 12:02 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #21  
Charlie Hall Says:

This is not true. Einstein agreed with Galileo and Newton that the earth and sun revolve around their center of gravity, which basically means that the earth revolves around the sun since the sun is so much more massive. Einstein's relativistic correction affects the orbit of Mercury, but not the orbit of the earth.

Big mistake, Einstein indeed meant the the earth and the sun, if you know something about relativity, it's a concept about motion so it's not correct to that one is moving and they other is at rest.

48

 Apr 05, 2009 at 12:00 AM Joseph Says:

Reply to #38  
Anonymous Says:

#37: the loss of a year (5769, instead of 5768) as a result of the Mabul cannot be the reason. If "time" stood still so did the calendar

Reply »

Actually he is correct. At the mabul, the solar system was frozen, and did not move, hence the "missing year" for Birchas Hachama. The calendar though continued during the mabul.

49

 Apr 04, 2009 at 10:58 PM good Question: Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

How come 5769 is the right year if it's not divisible by 28?

We're off with one year and one of the answers is that the year of the "Mabul" the sun along with all the other kochavim & mazulos did not operate that's why we're off one year

50

 Apr 04, 2009 at 10:50 PM smarter one Says:

Reply to #46  
mottel Says:

The actual solar mass, revolving centrally on an elliptical motion, causes the rotation on its axis as per newton's theory.
Conversely, using the actual lunar revolution as a basis for calculating the density of the planetary motions, leads to slight discrepancies in the totality of the calendrical cylinder.
Einstein's theory notwithstanding, the completion of the solar cycle within a spherical complexity, points to orbital positivity and relative negativity

mottel, what did you write there? did you listen in your science classes? i guess not!

51

 Apr 04, 2009 at 10:46 PM Anonymous Says:

#39
If the cycle "lost" a year due to "the length of days at the beginning," it would lose the same year for the same reason every 28-year cycle, and not stay at a constant Therefore, this is not the answer.

#41
This was answered earlier. Jewish time begins from Day 1, year zero, not Therefore 28 years later is year 28, not 29.

52

 Apr 04, 2009 at 10:44 PM Joseph Says:

Reply to #46  
mottel Says:

The actual solar mass, revolving centrally on an elliptical motion, causes the rotation on its axis as per newton's theory.
Conversely, using the actual lunar revolution as a basis for calculating the density of the planetary motions, leads to slight discrepancies in the totality of the calendrical cylinder.
Einstein's theory notwithstanding, the completion of the solar cycle within a spherical complexity, points to orbital positivity and relative negativity

Einstein has overturned various portions of Newton.

53

 Apr 05, 2009 at 03:45 AM Zach Kessin Says:

Reply to #52  
Joseph Says:

Einstein has overturned various portions of Newton.

Yes but not in the way you think it does. Newtonian physics with one or two very small exceptions describes the solar system quite well. Even using GR the earth goes around the sun. Just the math gets more complex.

54

 Apr 05, 2009 at 01:47 AM Zach Kessin Says:

Reply to #10  
Anonymous Says:

You are a bunch of kofrim. The sun goes around the earth not the other way. Einstein disproved Gallileo and we are left with the words of Chazal for even those who would accept Gallileo's word against Chazal. If you do not believe this you are worse than Slifkin.

Um no, Einstein did not disprove Newtonian physics, the Earth goes around the sun, this has not been debate for the last 400 years. No

55

 Apr 05, 2009 at 07:35 AM Joseph Says:

Reply to #53  
Zach Kessin Says:

Yes but not in the way you think it does. Newtonian physics with one or two very small exceptions describes the solar system quite well. Even using GR the earth goes around the sun. Just the math gets more complex.

What is described above is standard application of the theory of general relativity in astrophysics.

56

 Apr 05, 2009 at 08:03 AM Joseph Says:

Since Albert Einstein described, and the scientific community accepted GR approximately 95 years ago, astrophysics and scientists admit they do not know with certainty whether the sun circles the earth, or the earth circles the sun. Modern science states that either description can equally be decribed correctly, with no scientific preferance for one over the other.

57

 Apr 05, 2009 at 08:19 AM Joseph Says:

Einstein himself stated: “The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either coordinate system could be used with equal justification. The two sentences, ‘the sun is at rest and the earth moves,’ or ‘the sun moves and the earth is at rest,’ would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different coordinate systems.”

Sir Fred Hoyle. “We know that the difference between a heliocentric theory and a geocentric theory is one of relative motion only, and that such a difference has no physical significance. If the Galileo Affair had taken place after Einstein had framed his General Theory, it would have resulted in an even draw, out of physical and mathematical necessity.”

58

 Apr 05, 2009 at 08:18 AM Joseph Says:

The earth revolving around the sun is only relative. Nobody has proven nor even claims that it is absolute. In other words, if the Earth is the center of the universe, and the entire universe revolves around the earth, it will appear form the vantage point of anyone located within the universe that the sun is revolving around the earth, when in reality it is the opposite.

For example, lets say you throw a ball south at the speed of 60 MPH. To you and to those around you it would appear that the ball is moving and you are stationary.

But then, if you and all of those observers were actually riding on a bus traveling north at 60 MPH, then from the perspective of someone outside of the bus that ball, after you threw it, was perfectly still. It was you and your environment that were moving.

But then, what if the world was rotating at a speed of 60 MPH in the direction of south. Then, those observers outside of the bus would be the ones moving, the bus would be stationary, and the ball would indeed be traveling at 60 MPH.

Movement relative to another object depends on your perspective. And in order to know, ultimately, whether the earth revolves around the sun, because the earth is moving, or the sun revolves around the earth because the universe is moving and earth is stationary, you would have to measure form a vantage point outside of the universe, and nobody has been able to do that yet. At least not scientists.

So the idea that the earth revovles around the sun is like saying that the ball is moving inside the bus. Maybe. Or maybe everythign is moving in your immediate area except the ball. You'd have to be outside the bus to know that.

Same thing here. To know whether it is the earth or the sun that is moving, you would have to take into consideration the entire universe's movement, which no scientists has been able to do.

59

 Apr 05, 2009 at 09:03 AM Anonymous Says:

I am afraid that non of the above he's a clue what relatively is, relativity is not about which one is in center, the sun or the planets - if you some idea in science it most be that the sun is in center, because the circle of the motion is caused by the gravity of the sun - the question of relativity is only if it makes sense to say, one moves and the other is at rest!!

60

 Apr 05, 2009 at 09:48 AM shimon Says:

Reply to #36  
Anonymous Says:

#29 is incorrect and should refer to my previous answer in #28. Meanwhile, #30 is just a (wild) guess, which is why it's not even close. So far, no one has it right. With all the "excitement" surrounding this ancient Birkas hachama bracha, shouldn't there be at least one VIN reader who knows the basics?



Mr. Knowingthebasics, repeaping your point doesn't make it right. If you never seen the opinion of "no year 0", you didn't read many books on Birkas HaChama. This is a very common explanation by many great poskim.

61

 Apr 05, 2009 at 04:52 PM Gevaldig Question ! Says:

Why do some of our greatest holidays always fall davka on the 15th day of the month and others at the time of the equinox ?

15 of Adar is Purim
15 of Nissan is Pesach
15 of Shevat
15 of Av

Equinox=
Chanukah
Av

I always wondered.

62

 Apr 06, 2009 at 08:11 AM Anonymous Says:

The answer to the 29 divisible question: There is a Machlokes wheter the WOrld was created in Nissan or Tishrei. We hold Tishrei for celebrating the New Year Rosh Hashonnah but we hold Nissan for celebrating Birchas Hachamah. THerefore, Tishrei tolls the year 5769 which means the Birkas Hachamah takes place in Nissan 5769. If we were consistent in our Shittus, then Nissan this year wold be 5768 which is divisible by 28. SInce we split the Shitah, we wind up in 5769. Please tell me if you accept this teritz better than the Mabul answer which although correct does not necessarily mean a year did not toll. True the Heavens didnt revolve and the Earth didnt rotate, but a years worth of time still passed and who is to say the Heavens didnt realign themselves after the one year to where they should have been. Sort of a catch up movement. CHak SOmeach!

63

 Apr 06, 2009 at 11:35 AM Thinking Says:

The fact that Rosh Chodesh Nissan was on Thursday, and specifically the time of the Molad announced in shul (=Ho'Emtza'i) proves that our counting 5769 implies that Rosh HaShana that Adam HaRishon was born is on year 2 of our counting. Simply calculate backwards by month (29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 1/18th of a minute), year or Machzor (19 year cycle) and you find the new moon was the beginning of Friday.

In Gittin, when dates really count, it is explicitly written as: _____ (day of week) in Shabbos, the (day of month)____ day of month in ____ Year ____ according to the counting that we count here in city of ____. This is added as in history other people would start counting the years differently. Accordingly, we would be now in year 5768 or 5767.

64

 Apr 06, 2009 at 08:54 PM Joseph Says:

Reply to #21  
Charlie Hall Says:

This is not true. Einstein agreed with Galileo and Newton that the earth and sun revolve around their center of gravity, which basically means that the earth revolves around the sun since the sun is so much more massive. Einstein's relativistic correction affects the orbit of Mercury, but not the orbit of the earth.

Einstein's theory holds that gravity accelerates objects equally, regardless of mass, energy, or composition. This notion, called the equivalence principle, has roots reaching back to Sir Isaac Newton, Galileo, and beyond (SN: 9/22/90, p. 183).

65

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