21

Orchot Rabbeinu 1 p 93 quotes the Steipler that no bracha is said on a solar eclipse because it is a Siman Ra', a bad omen as outlined on Sukkah 29a and in this question. In the book Shaar HaAyin (7:6 footnote 13), the author quotes the Shevet HaLevi as leaving the issue in doubt.


21

First, it may not be valid to assume that creation was bound by the laws of science as we now understand them. Why should we assume that the very first plants grew by photosynthesis in the same way that plants do now? Or if we do, why not assume that the primordial light created on the first day was enough to produce this effect? But setting all that ...


13

The Shulchan Aruch (OC in the 220's) lists a bunch of natural phenomenon that get special blessings including: Strong rains after an extended drought Blossoming fruit trees Meteors Comets Earthquakes Lightning Thunder Strong winds Seas Rivers (possibly only the four mentioned in Genesis 2) Uniquely tall mountains Uniquely tall cliffs Deserts Rainbows The ...


12

I think I remember learning in elementary school that the Moon and the Sun had, as they have now, the same angular diameter when viewed from the Earth, and they also had coronas of equal size, so their total sizes, including coronas, were equal. When the Moon complained about their equality, literally in terms of a "crown" (which a corona resembles and which ...


11

Rambam, Hilchos Yesodei Hatorah Chapter 3. From Chabad.org Halacha 1 The spheres are called the heavens, the firmament, the habitation, the skies. There are nine spheres. The closest sphere is the sphere of the moon. The second sphere, which is above it, is the sphere which contains the planet Kochav (Mercury). The third sphere, which is above it, ...


11

The Gemara in Chagiga 16a mentions not staring at a rainbow (for too long). It represents (is similar to?) the glory of Hashem and (along with not staring at the king) is considered disrespectful to enjoy the view. כל שלא חס על כבוד קונו רתוי לו שלא בא לעולם: מאי היא ר' אבא אמר זה המסתכל בקשת רב יוסף אמר זה העובר עבירה בסתר מסתכל בקשת דכתיב {יחזקאל א-כח} ...


10

Per Torah.org Contemporary poskim debate whether taking a photograph of the sun or the moon is similar to drawing a flat image. Several rule stringently on this issue. There is an Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 5 - 9:6 that discusses this, however I am not able to find it online. Minchas Yitzchok 10:72 seems to prohibit it, however says it may be permitted ...


10

The Rambam himself addresses your question. He writes the following in Moreh Nevuchim regarding the science in the Gemara: Moreh Nevuchim (3:14): אל תדרוש ממני להתאים את כל ענייני האסטרונומיה שהם ציינו אל המצב כפי שהוא, כי המתמטיקה היתה לקויה באותם זמנים. והם לא דנו בזאת מבחינת שהם מוסרים אמרות אלה מפי הנביאים, אלא מבחינת שהם היו חכמי אותן תקופות ...


10

The Seforno (c.1500) writes this in is commentary to Genesis (8:22): עוד כל ימי הארץ זרע וקציר וקור וחום וקיץ וחורף ויום ולילה לא ישבותו. "לא ישבותו" מלהתמיד על אותו האופן בלתי טבעי שהגבלתי להם אחר המבול, וזה שילך השמש על גלגל נוטה מקו משוה היום, ובנטיתו תהיה סבת השתנות כל אלה הזמנים, כי קודם המבול היה מהלך השמש תמיד בקו משוה היום, ובזה היה אז תמיד עת ...


9

I could theorize that according to R. Firrer, the 'halakhic Earth' would be defined as anywhere that one is still subject to the Earth's gravitational field. Actually reading the article, however, implies that either 1. as soon as something is not touching Earth, it is no longer governed by its halachos (which, as you point out, is ridiculous) or 2. anything ...


9

The Rambam ruled in Hilkhos A.Z. 3:18 אסור לצור דמות חמה ולבנה כוכבים ומזלות ומלאכים, שנאמר "לא תעשון, איתי" (שמות כ,יט)--לא תעשון כדמות שמשין המשמשין לפניי במרום, ואפילו על הלוח. it is forbidden to fashion the likeness of the sun, the moon, the stars, the constellations, or the angels, as it is said (Ex. 20:19): "Do not make with Me [gods of silver.....


9

To solar cycle represents continuity and consistency. The lunar cycle represents rise and fall, והחיות רצוא ושוב. The two cycles don't inherently mesh, and it takes the actions of people (as represented by Beis Din which sets the leap year) to combine the two. See here for a similar expression of this idea. In terms of lessons in Avodas Hashem, there are ...


9

The notion of a semi-spherical shell around the world, that the sun travels under during the day, and then back around and over at night is not necessarily the early Israelite understanding of cosmology. Most of the evidence for it is from an era when he Babylonians and Persians had much much more accurate observations than the Greeks, and it is the ...


8

The verse immediately following Joshua's miracle states: וְלֹא הָיָה כַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, לְפָנָיו וְאַחֲרָיו, לִשְׁמֹעַ יְהוָה, בְּקוֹל אִישׁ: כִּי יְהוָה, נִלְחָם לְיִשְׂרָאֵל.‏ And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel. (Joshua 10:14) So it would seem it ...


8

When Tzivos Hashem was founded, the Lubavitcher Rebbe asked Michel Shwartz to draw a logo for it. In its first draft, he included a picture of the sun and the moon (I've seen a copy a while ago. The sun was (IIRC) a full circle inside the red part of the Tzaddik and a (waxing/waning crescent) moon inside the blue part). The Rebbe told him to remove the moon ...


8

The MA holds that we split up the 12 hours of a day from Alot HaShachar (the beginning of day) to Tzeit HaKochavim (the end of the day). The Gra holds that the 12 hours are split from sunrise to sunset independent of what is considered day or night. All agree that noon must be when the sun is highest in the sky. (This can be proven from the gemara that says ...


8

The explanation referenced in my answer here (I'm still looking for the underlying source - it must be in some maamar or sicha) seems to indicate that the "diminishment" is closer to your second possibility - though focusing not so much on the moon's waxing and waning, but on the fact that it is not self-luminous but receives its light from the sun. (Is ...


8

This might simply have been a confusion of units. Sizes.com claims that a Russian verst is equal to 500 sazheni, but a Moscovy verst is 1000 sazheni. The sazhen was fixed at 7 English feet (2.134m) in both systems way back during the 1700s in Peter the Great's rule. In 397:1, the Aruch HaShulchan says that specifically, he is talking about the Russian ...


8

I found discussion of eclipses in the g'mara, but not of the science of them. On Sukkah 29a the g'mara first discusses eclipses as omens (all bad). It then turns to causes: The Sages taught that on account of four matters the sun is eclipsed: On account of a president of the court who dies and is not eulogized appropriately, and the eclipse is a type of ...


7

Aish pathways says the blessing Oseh Ma’aseh Veraishit is said upon seeing spectacular mountains, deserts, lightning, earthquakes, hurricanes, astronomical phenomena, and impressive bodies of water. The Wikipedia entry for Aurora is titled “Aurora (astronomy)”. Thus the bracha Oseh Ma’aseh Veraishit seems right. But CYLOR. Edit: In the light of ...


7

In Talmud Bavli Rosh Hashanna 20b, R' Zeira quotes R' Nachman as saying: כ"ד שעי מכסי סיהרא לדידן שית מעתיקא ותמני סרי מחדתא לדידהו שית מחדתא ותמני סרי מעתיקא For 24 hours, the [moon] light is covered: For us [in Babylon] - 6 of the old [month] and 18 of the new [month]; for them [in Jerusalem] - 6 of the new and 18 of the old. (Translation mine, ...


6

A quick search of discussions on the web seems to point to there being no particular bracha and that Oseh Ma'aseh B'reishit is not called for, for a solar eclipse. As a kal vachomer, I would say that if there is nothing said for the still infrequent but more spectacular solar eclipse, then for the transit, why would there be? This site suggests other textual ...


6

R' Gil Student cites the Ibn Ezra “[T]he beginning of each individual’s year is from the moment he was born, and when the sun returns to the same point at which it was earlier, the person completes one full year” (['Iggeret HaShabbat, chapter 1]p. 21). Nevertheless, insofar as there are halachic implications, R' Student understood the Bar Mitzvah to ...


6

Probably (though you can never be sure with questions like these) you're referring to Rashi's comments on "כי היא חכמתכם ובינתכם לעיני העמים", "this shows your wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the nations" (Devarim 4:6), where Rashi quotes the Gemara in Shabbos (75): איזו חכמה ובינה שהיא לעיני העמים הוי אומר זה חישוב תקופות ומזלות What is ...


5

The Magen Avraham (OC 526 sk 8) quotes the Shelah (here) that one should not look at the moon during kiddush levana but rather glance at it in the beginning and look down. The Shelah referneces what he wrote earlier (here) where he quotes the book Shushan Sodot (bio?) that one should not look at the moon seemingly ever. The Shushan Sodot himself (here) ...


5

from here, quoting R. Isaac of Homil (a hebrew biography can be found here): The moon, when she was first created, was a glistening jewel. She did not merely reflect light, but rather transformed it and brought out its inner beauty, much as a precious stone glistens with a secret, hidden light all its own. In her own way, the moon was greater than the sun ...


5

Tikkunei Zohar (introduction, 4b, passim) associates these with the verse (Ex. 3:15, זה שמי לעלם וזה זכרי לדר דר - "This is My name forever, and this is My remembrance for all generations." The reference there is to the Four-Lettered Name of Hashem, י-ה-ו-ה. Each of the terms in that verse ("My Name" and "My remembrance"), then, relates to one half of that ...


5

Rokeach at the end of 356 - in this linked edition it is on page 242 line 5 says that if one is travelling he can stretch out his hands to the light of the stars and say Borai Meorai Haeish. He does not say anything regarding Shem U'Malchus. However the Raviya Brachos clearly says he should say it with Shem U'Malchus. ואם היה בדרך פושט ידיו לאור הכוכבים ...


5

As far as I know, "Shachar" - is a name of a star. When it get placed somewhere in the sky - halachikaly the day begins. I've just found out here that Venus is named Shachar.


5

A different angle on the question: at the funeral for Rabbi Emanuel Gettinger (who was a mathematics and astronomy enthusiast), it was suggested that God values our engaging the world. This way, we would have to study astronomy to determine how to modify the calendar. (Recall that the Gemara praises the role of an honest human judge as "partnering with God."...


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