Should You Make a Bracha On Today’s Eclipse?

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  1. Should a bracha be recited on a solar eclipse, and if so which bracha should be said?
  1. Shulchan Aruch (OC 227:1) lists many natural events for which the bracha of ‘Oseh Ma’aseh Breishis’ (‘He performs the acts of creation’) is recited, such as lightening, thunder and great winds. However, an eclipse is not included in this list. It therefore may be presumed that a blessing is not recited. Why should this be? Isn’t an eclipse an incredible and awe inspiring event, as much so as thunder and lightning?

Rav Chaim David Halevi, former Av Beis Din of Tel Aviv and Yaffo, suggests in Teshuvos Asei Licha Rav (5:7) that ‘Oseh Ma’aseh Breishis’ is only recited for natural events, which are part of ‘Ma’aseh Breishis’. The Talmud (Sukkah 29a) states that the likui chama, sun diminutions, is a response to man’s sinful behavior. It is a punishment and ominous sign. Many commentaries assume that likui chama refers to solar eclipses. As such, ‘Ma’aseh Breishis‘ cannot be recited, since eclipses are not part of the natural sequence and order of creation.

How can an eclipse be a response to human conduct when eclipses occur at predictable points in time? See Maharal, Be’er Hagolah 6 and Aruch L’ner (Sukkah 29a).

This Matzav.com column comes from OU Kosher’s Halacha Yomis dedicated in memory of Rav Chaim Yisroel ben Reb Dov HaLevy Belsky, zt’l, Senior OU Kosher Halachic Consultant (1987-2016). Subscribers can also ask their own questions on Kashrus issues and send them to grossmany@ou.org. These questions and their answers may be selected to become one of the Q and A’s on OU Kosher Halacha Yomis.

{Matzav.com}

11 COMMENTS

  1. Don’t watch the eclipse without special glasses. It’s VERY DANGEROUS to the look at the sun during the eclipse even if it’s only a partial eclipse.

  2. Your question #1 had 2 parts, you barely answered the first, and totally ignored the 2nd. Still, thank you for the insight. We appreciate every Torah thought and would like to have read a more complete answer.
    המתחיל במצוה “אומרים לו” גמור

  3. “Oseh Ma’aseh Breishis’ is only recited for natural events, which are part of ‘Ma’aseh Breishis’. The Talmud (Sukkah 29a) states that the likui chama, sun diminutions, is a response to man’s sinful behavior. It is a punishment and ominous sign.”
    According to the Maharal’s explanation, see Be’er haGolah Be’er 6 and Drush al haTorah (printed at the end of sefer Be’er haGolah) that it is indeed part of “nature” (as its predictable) and so are “sins” part of the nature of creation, thus a bracha should be recited according to the above logic.

  4. The Chofetz Chaim said that it is a mitzva to see the eclipse, but no mention of a bracha. (Article on another jewish website)
    R’ Avigdor Miller explained that the eclipse is a sign of ill fortune for the umos haolam, and Hashem ordains that it will occur at the time of the eclipse.

  5. Really good day to just drink a cup of tea. Having tea during totality is holy.

    I was a science mind and had the glasses yesterday. Hashem taught me that the right faith is to be religious and not study the eclipse at all. I hope that this is a year our rabbonim will make the eclipse viewing assur. It is too hard to make any chance of an accidental sight of seeing the eclipse.

  6. Birkas HaChama is an event that happens every 28 years, so yes their is an official Bracha, the Eclipse is no set time, the last official Eclipse was 38 years ago, plus in order to make a Bracha the whole world would have to be able to make the Bracha in this case only if u live in the US could see the Eclipse, those who live in other parts of the world couldn’t see it, as opposed to Birkas HaChama the whole world sees the Sun in the same position it was during creation, it just happens in different time zones @ different times, but ppl in Melbourne, Paris, Sydney, London, Antwerp, Manchester, Zurich, Los Angeles, Bklyn, Lkwd, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Seattle, Houston, Denver, Miami, Montreal, Monsey, Monroe were all able to see it, however the Eclipse only the US could see it, & even then only certain parts of the US were able to see a full complete Eclipse

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