Question & Answer With Rafi G. - Birchas HaChama
I have been seeing so many notices of pamphlets and books being printed about Birkas Ha'Chama and shiurim given about it, that I had stopped paying attention. I said to myself then, "It is happening in another 3 months/2 months/5 weeks - what's the big deal? Why all the preparation?"
On the one hand it is wonderful to see people get so excited about a mitzva. I think the reason for the excitement is because it occurs so infrequently. There is something special about doing a mitzva, anything really but especially a mitzva, that is so infrequent that it does not give you the opportunity to do it by rote. When something is so rare, you think about it, you try to understand it, you try to enhance the experience as much as you possibly can.
On the other hand, the whole mitzva will take about 30 seconds, if stretched out as much as you possibly could, to complete. Not only that, but it is also a bracha that we say for various other natural occurrences as well, so while the event might be rare, our part in it is really "nothing special".
But the truth is that I don't think we are making any more of a big deal out of it now than we did in the past. I remember as a child, I would have been 8 years old, when it last happened, the whole school went outside to say the bracha together. All the shuls performed the mitzva together. They made a big deal out of it also.
While it might feel a bit "over the top", it is human nature to try to appreciate something that is so rare much more than something that is so common. We make the same bracha on lightning, yet I can honestly say that during our last storm, I said the bracha on lightning with not nearly the level of reverence that is leading up to the bracha for Birkas Ha'Chama.
Perhaps we should learn a lesson from Birkas Ha'Chama about how we perform most of the time "Mitzvas Anashim Melumada", and how we can perform the same exact mitzva with reverence and thorough analysis. The way we prepare for and recite the bracha on 14 Nissan this year should remind us that we say the same bracha on many other manifestations of Hashem being the Creator, and that we should treat all those other times with even half the reverence with which we are treating Birkas Ha'Chama.