Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Solar Eclipse, Adar Bet and the Lunar Calendar

sunrise in jerusalem on the morning of the 2010 lunar eclipse
Ha'aretz reports that a partial solar eclipse will be seen today in Israel and in much of Europe, North Afrca and central Asia. In Israel the eclipse will be at it's fullest at 10:41 a.m. GMT (that's 3:41 AM EST or 12:41 AM PST). 

Last Rosh Chodesh Av, before which there was a great deal of messianic speculation, Israel experienced a total solar eclipse.  Prior to that, Israel experienced a solar eclipse during August 1999, also when Bibi was Prime Minister, reports Israel Truth Times. And, going back further, the Christian Astrology and Prophecies site informs us that on November 1, 1948, a comet was seen near the sun during a solar eclipse seen in Africa, months after the State of Israel was born in May 1948. What the site leaves out is that November 1948 is an important date in itself, especially considering the current discussion of borders: the November 1948 armistice line divided West and East Jerusalem. On the one hand, this was a great victory for Israel, securing control of much of the holy city and enabling it to begin to re-establish it as its capital. On the other hand, this left the Kotel and the Old City in the hands of Jordan, until 1967. Essentially, anyone supporting a return to 'pre-'67' borders is a supporter of the November 1948 armistice line. (Keep in mind: If all the Arab world wants is 1967 borders, why did they instigate war against Israel when the situation was exactly so?)

According to the the Talmud, Masechet Brachot (Tractate on Prayer), a solar (as opposed to a lunar) eclipse is a bad omen for non-Jews but a good sign for the Jewish people. During a solar eclipse, the strength of non-Jewish civilization is eclipsed, so to speak, by the moon, representative of the Jewish people. While the Gregogrian calendar is based on the sun's cycle, the Jewish holidays are celebrated according to the moon's movements, with modifications to align the calendar as a whole with the sun's cycle as well. This year, for example, an additional lunar month (Adar Bet) is inserted into the Jewish calendar, which will offset the trend of this year's 'early' Channukah. Lucky for us, Adar is the month of joy: the rabbis said that if one has an upcoming trial against a non-Jew, he should try to have the trial fall in the month of Adar. Since this year there are 2 Adars, there is twice as much eit ratzon, or time when we are judged with compassion.

In this way the moments of a solar eclipse, like the month of Adar, are auspicious: a relatively small effort on our behalf in the right direction can bring about massive shifts in the world and in the worlds above. 

If you read this in time, try to tune in with your thoughts, words and actions while Israel is experiencing moments of unhampered strength, by doing one or more of the following:

1. Say a chapter of Tehillim (Psalms), such as the one for your year (your age +1), or for a relative who passed away (the age they would be now +1), or one you connect to, with love for the entire Jewish people as one in mind.

2. Give tzedaka to the poor of Eretz Yisrael (if it's late where you are, then preferably online). By giving tzedaka to Eretz Yisrael, it is like we are fulfilling the mitzva of being here. Walking home through the center of town in Jerusalem yesterday evening, I encountered more people than ever collecting tzedaka. Old limping men, old religious women, young married women, all cold from the winds blowing as evening approaches. Tzedaka brings the geulah.

3. Learn Zohar or another book about the inner dimension of Torah, such as Rebbe Nachman's teachings, or Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh's books. Learning the inner dimension of Torah also has the power to bring about our collective and ultimate redemption.

4. Make someone you love happy. Cheering up a fellow Jew no matter what reasons there are for being down is a huge mitzvah.

5. Light a candle for a tzaddik and pray for what you or your loved ones need.

Kol HaYeshu'ot!!


  1. Thank you for showing us that there are still bnei yisrael who care and still are a light to the world.May you continue to bring nachat to Hashem.


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