What does Jewish thought have to say about the unusual occurrence of the blood moon that we have just experienced?
The result of a total lunar eclipse, like the one we saw early morning on the first day of Sukkot, is that the moon appears reddish-orange in color, a phenomenon known as “Blood Moon.” The intriguing color is the result of the moon passing through the earth’s shadow and reflecting the sun’s “red” rays.
Within the past of a year and a half, there have been four blood moons. Amazingly, each one fell on a major Jewish holiday – Passover and Sukkot. This close interval frequency is a very rare event. In fact, before the 20th century, there was a 300-year period when there were no such eclipses.
What does the Torah and Jewish tradition have to say about blood moons? Well, for starters, the first blood moon eclipse coincided with the Jewish holiday of Passover, a pivotal event that commemorates the ancient Israelites’ Exodus from slavery in Egypt. We all know that first of the ten plagues was BLOOD…
The 10th and final plague was Death of the Firstborn (at which time the Egyptians literally kicked the Jews out of Egypt!). Death is always associated with blood. Not only that, but the Israelites were commanded by God to paint lamb’s blood on their doorways so that the plague of the Firstborn would pass over their homes…
All Four Blood Moons Coincide with Major Jewish Holidays
But there’s more! ALL four blood moons will occur on major Jewish holidays! Passover 2014, followed by the holiday of Sukkot 2014, then again on Passover 2015 and then again on Sukkot 2015. This has happened only eight times in all of history!
And there’s even more! Major events of significance to the Jewish people happened on each of the last three recorded times that these rare blood moons occurred. They were events that changed the course and direction of Jewish history for all time.
A blood moon coincided with the Six Day War in 1967, when Israel liberated Jerusalem; Jews were able to return to Jerusalem after 2000 years of Exile. Sadly, Jewish blood was spilled during this war.
There was also a blood moon on the eve of Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948, following a bloody war that took place only a few years after the Holocaust, when Six Million Jews were murdered!
And finally, there was a blood moon in 1493, when Tomas de Torquemada, the first Spanish Inquisitor, began slaughtering Jews. Here too, Jewish blood was spilled.
Is the Blood Moon a Sign from Heaven?
Believers around the world of diverse faiths are attributing the blood moon phenomenon to the teaching of the prophet Joel, who had preached:
“I will set wonders in the heavens and the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke; the sun will turn to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and awesome Day of God” (Joel 3:3).
Inspired by the concluding words of Joel, some are suggesting that the blood moons are a sign from God that we are one step closer to the coming of the Messiah.
Is something wild or miraculous going to happen during the course of the upcoming series of blood moons? Nobody knows for sure. But perhaps the words of the Talmud can give us some insight on how we should relate to all possibilities and speculations:
“When the Jews perform the will of God, they need not worry about omens [or celestial phenomenon]. Thus says the Lord ‘Do not be frightened by the signs of the heavens.’” (Talmud Sukkah 29a)
Author: Rabbi Ari Enkin, United with Israel
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