For a comprehensive discussion on Birkat HaChamah, click here.
This is slightly off the direct subject, but for the sake of Truth I feel compelled to write.
I've now seen in numerous places online that people think that the Geulah is going to come in 5769. Why?
Because Birkat HaChamah will fall on Erev Pesach, as it did the year the Jews left Egypt, and in the time of the events recorded in Megillat Esther. And this is only desinted to occur 3 times in all of history.
What is Birkat HaChamah?
In Masechet Brachot 59B, a Baraita is taught:
One that sees the Sun in its Tekufah, the Moon in its Strength, the Stars in their Paths, and the Constellations in their Order makes the blessing Praised is the One that did Creation.
When is this? Abaye says: Every 28 years, the cycle returns and Tekufat Nissan falls in Shabbtai (Saturn) at the beginning of the Fourth Day (Tuesday night by our count).
So there are a few ideas that need be explained
- Tekufat Nissan - This is the beginning of the Jewish Solar Year. Theoretically speaking it is the Spring Equinox.
- Shabbtai - Chaza"l bring down that each of the 7 celestial bodies (that are visible to the naked eye) in our solar system are assigned an hour of the night. It is taught that this cycle started the beginning of the Fourth Day of creation (Tuesday night). The order starting at the beginning of the Fourth Day is: Shabbtai (Saturn), Tzedek (Jupiter), Maadim (Mars), Chamah (Sun), Nogah (Mercury), Kokhav (Venus), Levanah (Moon).
The Jewish Solar Year brought down in the Gemara there is according to Shmuel (Eruvin 56a) which is 365 days and 6 hours (365.25 days). If you do the math, you will see that every year, Tekufat Nissan advances 30 hours in the week. For our purposes here, we only care about when in the week this event occurs. If you continue the math, you will see that it returns to the exact same hour after 28 years. It is on those years, on the following morning, that we make the Brachah.
Therefore to see all of the years where according to this system, Birkat HaChamah would be said, simply take 1 + 28n, where n >= 0.
The first thing that you can check is to see if Birkat HaChamah occurred in 2448, the year that our forefathers left Egypt. Birkat HaChamah occured before we left Egypt in the year 2437, and afterwards in 2465.
The incidence of Birkat HaChamah with Erev Pesach is rare, but not unheard of. It last occurred only a few cycles ago in 5685 (1925). Persistence with a good Hebrew Calendar program will show you that this has happened between 5-10 times in the last thousand years (sorry, it's been a while since I checked). We simply cannot say that the third time is the Geulah.
So in order for us to be intellectually honest with this, we must say one of the following:
- The Exodus did not occur in the year 2448 as our tradition dictates
- The calculations used to determine when to recite Birkat HaChamah have changed, in which there is an inherent inconsistency to attach significance to 5769.
- This prediction of the Geulah in 5769 is not correct.
Just as a side note, an interesting calculation that I've found:
If you line up the Solar Years according to Tekufat Shmuel and Tekufat Adda, and see which years are in common for Birkat HaChamah (for Tekufat Adda, which years fall during the entire first hour of the Fourth Day, as it never returns to the exact moment), you will find two years: year 1 and 4297 (637CE), which was the year that Jerusalem fell to Omar and the Muslims. For the sake of truth, we must note that this is because over the course of approximately 2150 years, the two "new years" drifted apart until it the difference became equal to exactly one week. So while 4297 is the one year that Birkat HaChamah would be true for both systems, it would not be the same week.
Note: This is not to say that 5769 will be an insignificant year. See here for more.