Rav Avigdor Miller on the Lunar Eclipse

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Q:
Is the lunar eclipse that we see from time to time, what Chazal were referring to when they said that it is a bad omen for Klal Yisroel (Sukkah 29b)?

A:
Is an eclipse of the levanah the “levanah loikeh” that Chazal say is a siman rah for us? Let me explain something to you. When the moon is eclipsed, that’s based on a mathematical equation. A mathematical sequence is followed and the moon has to be eclipsed. However, this eclipse is coming for the purpose of teaching us something – of reminding us something.

Let me explain. “Vi’lalivanah amar she’tischadesh.” Hashem told the moon to conceal itself at the end of every month and to reappear when the new month begins. Why? So that it should be a testimony for the “amusei baten” – for the Am Yisroel – that “heim asidin li’hischadesh ki’mosah.” A testimony, that our nation which is now dispersed among the nations without a country of our own, will someday come back together. Even though we are all in galus, someday we will all come back together and we will shine again like the brightness of the moon when it reappears in the beginning of the month. So the moon is a symbol for us. It’s there to teach us an important lesson. When you see the new moon at kiddush levanah, you are meant to take note of its reappearance as a sign that we will also reappear in history and we will illuminate the world.

Now, when the moon is eclipsed, it has to be eclipsed. It’s not an accident or a random event that was sent for a certain purpose, like you’re imagining. No, not at all. By following a mathematical sequence, we know exactly when the moon will be eclipsed. However, every time the moon is eclipsed, we are supposed to take it as a lesson. We are supposed to say that Hakodosh Boruch Hu wants to remind us that He is watching us. And that sometimes, when we are not careful and we do wrong things, He is making the eclipse on our moon as a reminder for us to do teshuva. That’s all. The eclipse of the moon is a reminder for us to do teshuva and to not obstruct – to not cover up – our potential for illuminating the world. And we have to utilize the eclipse for that purpose. Now, of course, people don’t do that. They’re not thinking at all. But if you’d be thinking, you’d be using this opportunity. Even though you knew that there was going to be an eclipse. Everybody knew about it. You heard about the coming eclipse from the goyim because there has to be an eclipse based on the sequence. However, when it happens, you should say to Hashem, “Chatanu, and we want to do teshuva.” The new moon is reminding us of our purpose in this world – of reappearing on the scene of history like the new moon. And the eclipse is meant to remind us how we must do teshuva for our sins which are darkening the reappearance of the moon.

TAPE #E-219