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    On Monday, April 8, a
    historic total solar
    eclipse will take place.
    This cosmic event will
    be visible across a
    narrow route, called
    the path of totality, which extends through
    Mexico, the United States, and Canada.
    During this event, on that path, the sky will
    darken for several minutes and the air will get
    colder. After the total solar eclipse on April 8,
    2024, the next one visible from the contiguous
    United States will be on August 23, 2044. (Of
    course, we expect Mashiach to arrive way
    before then.)
    Rashi(יד ,א בראשית (addresses eclipses and
    says that when Hashem created the world, He
    created the two big luminaries. Rashi points
    out that when the lights are dimmed, as sin a
    solar eclipse, it is a bad omen (sign) for the
    The Gemara(א ,כט סוכה (also tells us why
    eclipses happen, attributing them to four
    different sins.
    The mefarshim (commentators) ask that since
    an eclipse is a natural world event that can be
    calculated ahead of time, why would we
    consider it good or bad. It’s not any different
    from any other natural occurrence.

    For example, the Torah tells us that Hashem
    had a treaty with the world not to flood it
    again as He did in the time of Noah. As a sign
    at times when the world should be flooded as
    a result of their bad deeds, He creates a
    rainbow. The rainbow is a reminder of this
    treaty. The question is obvious: rainbows
    occur when light from the sun is scattered by
    water droplets (e.g. raindrops or fog) through
    a process called refraction. Refraction occurs
    when the light from the sun changes direction
    when passing through a medium denser than
    air, such as a raindrop. So, why then does the
    Torah say the reason is the treaty?
    Amongst the various explanations, one that
    we like to bring out is the Maharal’s(הגולה באר
    ששי באר (. He says the above question is based
    on a mistaken assumption that Chazal told us
    how nature operates, and therefore we can
    assess their statements and see if they fit
    scientific scenarios, which many times they
    do not. Thus, we come to the mistaken
    conclusion that they were wrong.
    The truth, explains the Maharal, is that Chazal
    don’t deal with earthly things because it’s
    beneath their endless wisdom to concern
    themselves with findings that can be done by
    scientists. Rather, they deal with the spiritual
    reasons things happen. Chazal teach us that

    every event that happens in the
    world has spiritual causes,
    which are not revealed to
    anyone besides Torah scholars.
    Therefore, when people sin to
    the point that Hashem wants to
    flood the world, He sends rain
    and then scatters the droplets by
    sunlight, which creates a
    When Chazal tell us the reasons
    eclipses happen, it is to point
    out which sins brought nature to
    operate this way.
    This means that since those sins mentioned in
    the Gemara were not rectified, nature will
    continue to have eclipses at those times.
    However, if they were to be rectified, then
    nature would change its course, and no
    eclipses would occur anymore.
    It’s like a person who experiences back pain
    every time it rains. Therefore, we can predict
    that whenever it rains, he will be in pain.
    Similarly, with the sins and eclipses, the sin
    brings about the eclipse every once in a while.
    If the sin is not corrected, the celestial sign of
    the eclipse will continue to manifest at their
    predicted times.
    The gmara(א ,כט סוכה (presents three
    opinions regarding the eclipse ramifications.
    The last of the three opinions holds that
    when the sun is eclipsed, it is a bad omen
    (sign) for the nations. When the moon is
    eclipsed, it is a bad omen for the Jewish
    Let’s try to understand the reason behind
    those words. Israel is often compared to the
    moon, while the nations of the world are
    compared to the sun. There are many
    explanations for this comparison. Some
    explain it is because, like the moon, Israel
    renews itself every month; even after falling,
    they raise themselves up. Additionally, after
    persecutions, they always come back in full
    force. Another explanation is that eventually,
    when Mashiach comes, they will shine out
    as a new creation.
    Now that we understand what each player
    represents and that the eclipses represent the
    spiritual status of the nation, let’s see how
    eclipses happen. A solar eclipse occurs when
    the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth,
    causing the Moon to cast a shadow on Earth.
    On the other hand, a lunar eclipse occurs
    when Earth is between the Sun and the
    Moon, causing Earth to cast a shadow on the
    During a lunar eclipse, when the moon
    receives no light from the sun because the
    earth is between those two celestial bodies, it
    is considered as the worldly desires,
    represented by the earth covering the moon.
    As the moon resembles Israel, when it is

    covered by the earth (representing physical
    desires), it signifies that our physical desires
    are overtaking our nation and covering us
    completely. Chazal point out that this is a bad
    sign, possibly indicating negative events to
    On the other hand, during a solar eclipse, the
    moon stands between the sun, representing the
    world’s nations, and covers the earth. This
    represents that the small nation of Israel,
    which covers the sun, sometimes has the
    power to overcome all the nations and be
    victorious. This is a bad sign for the nations
    but a good sign for Israel.
    Since a total solar eclipse is a rare event,
    recurring somewhere on Earth every 18
    months on average, yet estimated to recur at
    any given location only every 360–410 years
    on average, the prophet Yoel already
    prophesied that before the time of Mashiach
    we will experience such eclipses(ג יואל (‘:
    “Before the great and terrible day that Hashem
    comes, I will set portents in the sky and on
    earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke; The
    sun shall turn into darkness And the moon into
    The prophecy says that at the time of the solar
    eclipse, the sun totally darkens and the moon
    turns a color of bloody red, which is indeed
    the moon’s color expected to be at the
    upcoming eclipse.
    more is) פרשת כי תצא דף רפא ע״ב)Zohar The
    specific, saying that since Israel and Ishmael
    count the days of the month according to the
    sun (as opposed to the Christians who count
    according to the sun), depending on the day of
    the month when the solar eclipse happens, it
    makes a difference if it’s considered bad for
    Israel or Ishmael. The Zohar says: “Since the
    moon can be good or bad, and since Israel and
    Ishmael count according to the moon, thus if
    the eclipse happens when the moon is full, it’s
    a bad sign for Israel. But when the moon is not
    full, it’s a bad sign for Ishmael.”
    Since the eclipse happens on Monday, which
    is the end of the month of Adar, it is when the
    moon is completely missing and not visible in
    the sky, which is the very end peak of the
    month. This is hopefully a good sign of victory
    as the Zohar explained and hopefully a sign
    that Mashiach is here, as prophesied by Yoel.