Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Eternal Cycles

By Rabbi Daniel Travis

"And God created the two great lights, the sun to serve during the day and the moon to serve during the night...And God saw that what He created was good (tov)." (Bereshith 1:16, 18)

Each month when the new moon first appears we must recite a blessing in which we proclaim that God is true, therefore His actions are true. How does the reappearance of the moon express the truth of God's actions? Furthermore, our Sages tell us that when a person recites this blessing with the proper intention it is as if he greeted the Divine Presence.1 Why is so much significance attributed to this particular blessing?

Every month the moon seemingly disappears, only to return the following month. Within the consistent and unchanging cycles of the moon, we see clearly that the handiwork of God is true. The perpetual repetition of this pattern can bring us to the ultimate recognition that the Creator Himself is True.2 Because the lunar cycles can make such a striking impression, our Sages compared making this blessing to greeting the Divine Presence itself.

The antithesis of this consistency is false testimony, when people create a bogus reality through their own fabrications. Consequently, the Gemara says that if the Jewish People offer false testimony in a beith din, they are punished with an eclipse of the Moon.3 Since they have associated themselves with falsehood, God reciprocates in a manner which parallels their behavior, by altering the usual functioning of His creation.4


1. Sanhedrin 42a.

2. Rashi ibid.

3. Sukkah 29a

4. In this day and age we may think that an eclipse of the moon is not an interruption of the continuous functioning of creation. We consider it a normal, natural and predictable part of the functioning of creation, so how can it be a punishment for anything? The answer to this conundrum revolves around the issue of yediah (foreknowledge) and bechirah (free choice). God knows who will offer false testimony, and when that will take place, so therefore He specifically etched lunar eclipses into the universe at those times. The fact that we can predict it does not mean that it is not a punishment.


Priceless Integrity, Copyright © 2001 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org.

Subscribe to Priceless Integrity and receive the class via e-mail.


 






ARTICLES ON MASEI AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

The Daughters of Tzlofchad
Shlomo Katz - 5758

Defining Good
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5763

Collateral Damage
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

ArtScroll

The Future Comes First
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Events of the Past
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

Power of Prayer
Shlomo Katz - 5763

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Ramban: Why was Parshas Nedarim given over specifically to
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

Confusing Causation
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5768

Points to Ponder
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

> Cities of Refuge: Sanctuary for Survival
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5768

An Oath
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

Perceptions on the Parsha - Parshas Masei
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A Judgement Call
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Confronting "I"
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

Appropriate Response
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

A Fresh Look at Life
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information