Tuesday, June 05, 2007

How grateful we are!

another birthday present I got from friends in England (which I use all the time) is the new 'Singer Siddur' ("Hebrew Daily Prayer Book" - I'm checking out Amazon's new feature, though I don't think it is working) with a revised translation and commentary by Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks. I really like the translation and the layout, and although there are a couple of mistakes and additions that need fixing for the next edition, I find that I much prefer it to the Artscroll or any other English siddur.
I was just thinking about the words that we say each Shabbat at the end of p'sukei d'zimra (and I'll use the Chief's translation):

If our mouths were as full of song as the sea, and our tongue with jubilation as its myriad waves,
If our lips were full of praise like the spacious heavens, and our eyes shone like the sun and the moon,
If our hands were outstretched like eagles of the sky, and our feet as swift as hinds -
still we could not thank You enough... for even one of the thousand thousands and myriad myriads of favours You did for our ancestors and for us.

Yesterday I was a pessimist, but today I feel so incredibly lucky and really appreciate all the wonderful things that G-d did, does, and continues to do for me, my family and loved ones and friends, not to mention the rest of the world.

So I was trying to figure out how much these numbers are.

I found some interesting stats on the filter and the comments there. Apparently

Geologists claim there are 326 trillion gallons of water on the surface of the earth: 326 cubic miles of water X 1 trillion gallons per cu. mi.

to which someone responded:

Actually there is much more than 300 trillion gallons of water on the surface of the earth.

There are 300 million cubic miles of water and each one of those cubic miles contain a billion gallons.

A myriad is ten thousand. That is 10,000. A myriad of myriads should be 10,000 * 10,000 which is 100,000,000 which is only a hundred million. I'm not sure whether that is supposed to be multiplied by a thousand thousands (a million) or not. If it would the number would be quite large: 100,000,000,000,000 which I think is a hundred trillion. This is a very big number, but not even close to the actual praise that we should give G-d.

Just to give you an idea of how big these numbers are:

One billion seconds is about 31 years.
One billion hours is 114,077 years.
One billion days takes 2,737,850 years.
One billion centimetres is 6,250 miles (the distance from London to Johannesburg, South Africa).
One billion pennies laid side to side would stretch 12,626 miles, approximately the distance from London to Sydney, Australia.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into perspective in one of its press releases:
A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.
A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate Washington spends it.

A trillion is MUCH bigger.

LONDON, May 7 (UPI) -- The producer of the BBC Radio 4's "More or Less" show, Michael Blastland, and his London team are taking on the challenge of describing the term "Trillion."

Besides being the mortgage debt in Britain, 1 trillion is a number with 12 zeros after it, the BBC reported.

Blastland said there is basic agreement in the world that a trillion is 1,000 billion and 1 billion is 1,000 million.

"When you hear a politician, business leader of economist using the word trillion, they are talking about a number with 12 zeros," he said.

He used some examples to describe how large a trillion is.

"It is estimated you can get 50,000 pennies into a cubic foot -- a trillion pennies would fill two St Paul's Cathedrals," he said.

Also, a million seconds equals 11.5 days, a billion seconds equals 32 years and a trillion seconds comes to 32,000 years.

His last calculation states that "if you take the typical annual salary as £25,000 ($49,800) a year -- how long would it take you to spend a trillion pounds if you spent £25,000 a day?"

The answer is 109,000 years, said Blastland.

You can listen to the bbc broadcast of this show by clicking here (I hope) and this is the link to the website.

I know the simple meaning of the prayer is that it is an exaggeration of how grateful we must be for all the kindness that G-d has done for us. But that is an amazing amount of praise!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment