Video: Tuesday Morning’s Lunar Eclipse


lunar-eclipse[Video below.] The full moon changed from a glowing orange orb to total darkness early Tuesday as it underwent a rare eclipse. This was the first total lunar eclipse to coincide with the winter solstice in 372 years.

The show lasted 3 ½ hours and was visible from clear skies in North and Central America. Portions of Europe and Asia were only able to see part of the show. Some cities with thick cloud cover were unable to see much at all.

The phase when the Earth’s shadow completely covered the moon, called the totality phase, lasted 72 minutes. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth casts its shadow over the moon blocking it from reflecting light. A total eclipse where the moon is fully covered by the Earth is rare.

Scientists say another such eclipse won’t occur again till 2094.

Click below to watch:

[media id=1053 width=400 height=300] 

{Noam Newscenter}


  1. See Aruch L’ner, Succah 29a, where he tries to explain, how could the Chazal not have known that an eclipse is not a spontaneous episode. He tries to answer the Gemoroh on the top of the Daf.
    But he can not properly explain the Gemoroh on the bottom of the Daf, where the Gemoroh lists exactly which Aveiros causes the Sun and the Moon to become eclipsed.
    I don’t see why he even tries to explain it. Why can’t he simply say like we say all over, that the Chazal always went along with the scientists of their time. Just like they believed that the moon is a fiery ball giving off its own light.

  2. It was only in the period of the 1200’s that they dicovered that the moon does not have its own light. Before that, all of mankind believed that the moon was like a miniture sun with its own light.

  3. I heard once from Rabbi Feinstein that the ??? is that these are times of ?????. These are times during which the midda of din is strong, and punishment may come to the world.

    Some have the custom, as mentioned in shulchan aruch, to fast whenever there is an eclipse.

    May Hashem have mercy on us.

  4. To #3
    Please see Sfas Emes & Rashash on the last Tosfos in Psochim 94a. Also Rashi rosh Hashsana 24a line 12.
    Also the simple Gemoroh in Psochim 94b where the Chazal are entertaining the notion, that at night the sun travels Over the non-transparent blanket called sky, from west to east, while the moon is shining on us underneath the sky.

  5. When there is anything that affects the way we live, even if there is no impact that harms anyone, Chazal point out that it happened in the time that we live in as opposed to any other time because of particular types of Avaiross that are happening at that time. This is similar to seeing a rainbow which should awaken those that see it to do Teshuvah. This has nothing to do with the solar or Lunar cycles or the capability of the scientests to know in advance when it will occur. It happened in our times to waken us up from our slumber and appreciate the chassodim that hashem has provided us with.

  6. #5

    The Rema in Toras HaOlah (1:2) states clearly that we assume rabbinic science to be infallible, and ancient rabbinic knowledge of astronomy complete.

    Medrash Tehillim (19) quotes Shmuel as saying he is an expert in the streets of Nehardea as much as he is an expert in the ‘streets’ of the heavens. The Medrash asks how Shmuel knew all of that, and it answers he knew it all through the Torah. It then quotes a R’ Hoshea as saying there is “space” between the upper waters and the firmament, and the Medrash asks how R’ Hoshea could know this unless he traveled to space. It answers, he knew it from the Torah.

    The Gemora in Bechoros 8a derives from a posuk in Bereishis the fact that gestation period of a snake is longer than the rest of the animal kingdom. This is cited by the Ramban (Toras Hashem Temima p.159 in Chavel edition) as but one example of how Chazal knew facts of science from the pesukim in the Torah that describe Brias HaOlam. He cites more. He says “the sages of Yisroel have knowledge through these pesukim of all of creation.”

    Rabbeinu Bachyai writes in the Introduction to Chumash that all wisdom and science in existence is contained in Torah.

    Some scientific facts were known through rabbinic tradition. The Rashba cites a rabbinic tradition from Sinai that a treifah cannot live more than 12 months. (Rav Yonason Eyebushitz (kreisi Upleisi 40) writes that such traditions are not to be disregarded even if found to be against “all the laws of heaven and earth”, since they are part of Torah shebal peh.

    The Maharal, too, states that all science is included in Torah, as Chazal says “hafoch bah hafoch bah d’kulah bah” (Chidushei Agados Menachos 64b). Similarly, he writes(B’er Hagola 6) that when the sages mentioned a scientific fact, they derived it from their knowledge of the Torah and Hashem, Who is the Cause of all science. He says that science is inferior to Torah even where it comes to scientific knowledge, because scientists base their opinions on what they see, which is a finite and imperfect method of investigation, as opposed to knowledge of science through Torah, which is the root and cause for all facts in the world

    The Chosid Yaavatz (Ohr Hachaim) says that Chazal knew science form a Mesroah that goes back all the way to the Neviim, who knew it from Hashem, without any effort at all.

  7. Not only do we see that Chazal learned their science from the Torah, but Rav Breil, the Rebbi of the Pachad Yiztchok teaches us that we do not even entertain the possibility of a scientific statement in Chazal not coming from the Torah .This we see from Rav Briel’s answer to the Pachad Yiztchok’s question regarding the killing of lice on Shabbos. The Gemora permits it, based on a scientific fact. The Pachad Yiztchok asked his Rebbi that due to the possibility that this scientific fact is incorrect, perhaps we should be machmir and not kill lice on Shabbos, just in case.

    His Rebbi answered that there is no “just in case”. Stating that Chazal’s knowledge is based on the reality, not mere scientific observation, he assures his Talmid that without a doubt the rabbinic science is more accurate than the science of the scientists, and even if currently it appears one way, the rabbinic view will eventually be proven correct. He mentions that in the disagreement between the sages and the scientists regarding whether the sun revolves around the earth or vice versa, the sages conceded to the scientists, but centuries later, it was proven that the Torah sages were right all along. Thus, he says there is no reason to even suspect that Chazal’s statement regarding lice is inaccurate, and there is no reason to even be machmir because there is no chance of chilul shabbos at all.

    Once we establish that the scientific knowledge that is incorporated into Torah Shebal Peh is derived form the Torah, it has the same status as all of Chazal’s interpretaitons of the Torah — they are binding:

    The Gemora in Sanhedrin (100a) tells that R. Yochanan derived from a posuk that when Moshiach comes, the gates of Jerusalem will be made of jewels 30 amos long and 30 amos high. Some student said that such big jewels do not exist – “we do not even find jewels as big as doves eggs,” he said. Then, one day the student saw angels (!) cutting such big stones, and he asked them what they are for. The angels answered: “They are for the gates of Jerusalem”. When next he saw R. Yochana, he praised his qualifications for expounding the Torah, based on his “scientific observation” that confirmed the Rebbi’s interpretation.

    R. Yochanan responded, “Bum! You only believe because of what you see? You dishonor the words of the sages!”, and the student died.

  8. The Ran (Drashos #13) points out that the statemnt of R. Yochana had no halachic relevance at all – it was merely an Agadic interpretation, and the disagreement was regarding a scientific fact, yet the student was punished for not believing in its truth. Therefore, he concludes:

    “Just as we are commanded to follow their opinions regarding laws of the Torah, so too are we commanded to follow all of what they say from tradition in Hashkafa (“Deos”), and medrash on Pesukim. And someone who veers from their words, even in something that has no relevance to any Mitzvah, is an Apikores and has no share in the next world.

    The Radvaz (4:232) writes that “Aggadah is part of the Torah shebal peh and is rooted in what Moshe received on Har Sinai directly from Hashem, just like the rest of Torah shebal peh”.

    Similarly from the Alshich: “Nobody has a right in our generation to disagree based on his own opinion, if he did not find such an opinion from his predecessors (Rebbeim). We are commanded “lo sosur”, which includes also Agadita.” (Shmuel II 21:1)

    The Sifri (48) explains the posuk in Devarim 11:22, “And you really follow all this Mitzvah”, that “this means to learn Midrash, Halachah, and Agada.”

    Rav Yiztchok Izak Chaver in Magen Vtzenah (p,49) – there are people who reject Chazal’s statements because the secular scientists disagree (he gives examples, such as the sun rising above the firmament at night etc), and they laugh saying that we know its not true. They are fools. The GRA, who even the scientists admit that he knew science much better than them, accepted all words of Chazal as fact, and that the philosophers and scientists (chachmei hatechunah) are all wrong, and he believed in the truth of the simple straightforward understanding of the words of Chazal. The GRA said that the scientists didnt come to the ankles of our sages in any secular discipline or science.

    Chida (Shem Hagedolim: “Seforim”:5:82) – There are a minority of Gedolim among us who disagree with Chazal because of their scientific knowledge, but they do not understand that Chazal had Eliyhau Hanavi informing them, and they had Ruach HaKodesh to inform them.

    Chasam Sofer — Please see the Chasam Sofer in Beshalach I quoted above. He says the same thing in Drashos Chasam Sofer Vol. 1 p.100b. Our prophets and sages know all the sciences much better than the scientists even though all they learn is Torah. This is because the One Who created nature informs our sages of the correct facts. This is what amazes the Nations, as it says, Am navon v’chacham hagoy hagodol hazeh!

    An identical interpretation to that of the Chasam Sofer’s explanation Am navon v’chacham (I quoted one earlier in the name of ibn Daud regarding philosophical knowledge) is found in the Ramak (Sefer HapPardes 13:6) regarding astronomy.

    From the Maharal (Ber Hagolah 6):

    The Maharal is explaining why Chazal sometimes seem to contradict what science says:

    Some people say that Chazal were not experts in the sciences. They say this because they see things stated by Chazal regarding causes of natural phenomenon that seem unlikely to be true. But the truth is not as these people claim, because when Chazal spoke about natural causes they did not mean superficial, physically scientific causes – that is fitting for scientists or doctors, not for our sages. Our sages, on the other hand, when they spoke about the causes of nature, were referring not to causes that are natural but to what causes nature to act the way it does. And anyone who disagrees with this disagrees with our Emunah and our Torah … the idea is this: When the Torah mentions a natural reason for something, that is the real reason, for every natural phenomenon there is a scientific cause, but for that scientific cause there is a spiritual cause – i.e. that cause of the cause – and that is what Chazal were referring to … when they discussed scientific matters, they did not mean to describe the surface-level cause, but rather the reason of the cause….there are people who misunderstand the words of Chazal who criticize them, saying that they did not know things that the non-Jewish scientists knew, but the truth is the very claim they make against [Chazal] applies to them, for they are far from the true science .. I will tell you a rule about the words of the sages: all their words are logical, and represent the true understanding of nature .. and even though some people will find this idea far-flung or doubtful as an explanation of what Chazal meant, but you should know that there is no doubt at in any manner whatsoever that this is what Chazal mean … for their words are correct and reliable, and only someone who does not understand them will have doubts … I have already explained that Chazal were not discussing the physical aspects of things but rather their essence … the words of Chazal are with wisdom and logic and are not surface-level [physical] descriptions, but rather the words of our sages refer to the essence, and have no relation to the outer, material matter.