Viewing the Solar Eclipse through a Jewish lens

Today, we will have the opportunity to experience a natural phenomenon that in ancient times was thought to portend disaster, but is now considered very inspiring. The difference is knowledge and attitude.

Without the ability to forecast a celestial event, and without the collection of patterns to provide experience and resilience, the ancients could only see an eclipse as a sign of danger. With the advances of human understanding, an eclipse becomes an awe-inspiring event and an opportunity to further our understanding of the universe.

So how may we react to this event? What can we do or contemplate to mark this moment in time?

As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel reminds us, “Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement. Get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.”

With that in mind, consider these meditations to recite as you experience the solar eclipse:

“I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining. I believe in love even when there’s no one there. I believe in God even when God is silent.” – Anne Frank

Baruch Atah A-d-o-n-o-i, E-l-o-h-e-i-n-u Melech ha’olam, oseh ma’aseh bereshit” (Blessed are You, God, Sovereign of the Universe, Who reenacts the work of creation).

We at The Jewish Federation want to express our gratitude, awe and appreciation of your many contributions, whether through donation, volunteerism or simply by connecting to Jewish life in your own way. Thank you for brightening our Jewish world.

To many more inspirational moments!

Avi West, Master Teacher, & Federation’s Jewish Life and Learning Team