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ברכות ותפילות לרגל עדות העטרה של החמה | Blessings and a Prayer for Witnessing a Solar Eclipse by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

https://opensiddur.org/?p=16645 ברכות ותפילות לרגל עדות העטרה של החמה | Blessings and a Prayer for Witnessing a Solar Eclipse by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org) 2017-08-20 10:30:12 Blessings and prayers for the eclipse, at: <a href="http://neohasid.org/eclipse">neohasid.org/eclipse</a> including texts and links to other Internet resources. May we all find blessing in the wonder. Text the Open Siddur Project David Seidenberg David Seidenberg neohasid.org https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ David Seidenberg https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/ Solar Eclipse 21st century C.E. 58th century A.M. Coronation the sun Crowning Eclipse total solar eclipse the moon ecoḥasid eco-conscious North America

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When the disk of the sun is hidden, the sun’s corona is revealed. The moon ever so briefly “overpowers” the sun, but not all of the sun, so that the sun’s concealment becomes a revelation. During the brief moments of “totality”, the planets shine in midday. Some of the brighter stars and constellations visible only in the winter will show themselves in a summer sky.

Our ancestors sometimes saw an eclipse as a bad omen for the world, so they did not prescribe a blessing for it. But we understand an eclipse as a natural marvel that reminds us of the grandeur of Creation, so many rabbis now believe we should say a blessing. But which blessing? There are two candidates, but there are also two events: the eclipsing of the sun up until totality, and the revelation of the corona during totality.

The crown of the sun, in Hebrew, עֲטָרָה | atarah, becomes revealed only in the total eclipse. By all accounts, totality is a unique experience far different than witnessing a partial solar eclipse. It seems right therefore to say an additional blessing when one is privileged to see it. Here is one suggestion.


For the partial eclipse, when the sun’s light still fills the sky:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
מֶלֶֽךְ הָעוֹלָם
עוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂה בְּרֵאשִׁית׃
Blessed be You
YHVH/Adonai our God,
Ruler of all space and time,
maker of the work of Creation

Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh Ha’olam `oseh ma`aseh v’reishit

For totality, when the sun’s atarah becomes visible:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
מֶלֶֽךְ הָעוֹלָם
שֶׁכּוֹחוֹ וּגְבוּרָתוֹ וְזִיווֹ מָלֵא עוֹלָם׃
Blessed be You
YHVH/Adonai our God,
Ruler of all space and time,
whose power and might and radiance fill the universe.

Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh Ha`olam shekocho ug’vurato v’zivo malei olam

יהי רצון מלפניך שגילוי כנפי הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ יהיה לנו לרפואה,
ככתוב: וְזָרְחָה לָכֶם יִרְאֵי שְׁמִי שֶׁמֶשׁ צְדָקָה וּמַרְפֵּא בִּכְנָפֶיהָ
וִיצָאתֶם וּפִשְׁתֶּם כְּעֶגְלֵי מַרְבֵּק׃.
A prayer:
May the revelation of the sun’s wings bring us healing,
as it says, “And the sun of righteousness will shine for you and will bring healing in its wings,
and you will go out and gambol like calves set free.” (Malachi 3:20)
יהי רצון שנראה ביראה גדולת מעשיך,
ככתוב, שְׂאוּ מָרוֹם עֵינֵיכֶם וּרְאוּ מִי בָרָא אֵלֶּה.
ונזכה להתעורר כְּאֲמִיצֵי כֹּחַ לרפא את העולם מחורבן אנושי,
May we recognize with awe the grandeur of Your works,
as it says, “Lift on high your eyes and see: Who created these?” (Isaiah 40:26)
so that we may be filled with courageous strength to heal the Earth from human destruction.
May the desire for peace eclipse the desire for war,
may love eclipse hatred,
may we see the light hidden within the light,
the invisible within the visible.[1] Added in advance of the solar eclipse in North America on 8 April 2024. 
יקום פורקן לשמיא המגינים עלינו
כדי שיזכו כל באי עולם ליהנות מזיו אור החמה וזריחת כנפיה לחיים׃
May salvation arise for the heavens that shield us (atmosphere),
so that sun’s rays will shine for blessing for us and for all life.
* * *
* * *
The eclipse of 2017 precedes the beginning of the new moon of Elul, the New Year for animals. These verses connect the sun and moon and heavenly bodies with the creatures on Earth:
אַתָּה־ה֣וּא יְהוָה֮ לְבַדֶּךָ֒ את [אַתָּ֣ה] עָשִׂ֡יתָ אֶֽת־הַשָּׁמַיִם֩ שְׁמֵ֨י הַשָּׁמַ֜יִם וְכָל־צְבָאָ֗ם הָאָ֜רֶץ וְכָל־אֲשֶׁ֤ר עָלֶ֙יהָ֙ הַיַּמִּים֙ וְכָל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר בָּהֶ֔ם וְאַתָּ֖ה מְחַיֶּ֣ה אֶת־כֻּלָּ֑ם וּצְבָ֥א הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם לְךָ֥ מִשְׁתַּחֲוִֽים׃
The hosts of the heavens bow before God
You are the One YHVH, alone by yourself you made the heavens, the heavens (beyond) the heavens and all their host, the Earth and all that is upon her, the seas and all that is in them, and You give live to them all, and to You do the host of the heavens bow. (Nehemiah 9:6)
יט עָשָׂ֣ה יָ֭רֵחַ לְמוֹעֲדִ֑ים שֶׁ֝֗מֶשׁ יָדַ֥ע מְבוֹאֽוֹ׃ כ תָּֽשֶׁת־חֹ֭שֶׁךְ וִ֣יהִי לָ֑יְלָה בּֽוֹ־תִ֝רְמֹ֗שׂ כָּל־חַיְתוֹ־יָֽעַר׃ כא הַ֭כְּפִירִים שֹׁאֲגִ֣ים לַטָּ֑רֶף וּלְבַקֵּ֖שׁ מֵאֵ֣ל אָכְלָֽם׃ כב תִּזְרַ֣ח הַ֭שֶּׁמֶשׁ יֵאָסֵפ֑וּן וְאֶל־מְ֝עוֹנֹתָ֗ם יִרְבָּצֽוּן׃ כג יֵצֵ֣א אָדָ֣ם לְפָעֳל֑וֹ וְֽלַעֲבֹ֖דָת֣וֹ עֲדֵי־עָֽרֶב׃ כד מָֽה־רַבּ֬וּ מַעֲשֶׂ֨יךָ ׀ יְֽהוָ֗ה כֻּ֭לָּם בְּחָכְמָ֣ה עָשִׂ֑יתָ מָלְאָ֥ה הָ֝אָ֗רֶץ קִנְיָנֶֽךָ׃
Who made the moon for seasons; the sun knew its setting. You set darkness and it became night; through it all the wild animals of the forest creep. The lion cubs roar for prey, and for seeking their food from God. You make the sunshine and they gather themselves and unto their dens they crouch. Human goes out to their work, and to their service, until evening. How diverse are Your works YHVH! All of them You made with Wisdom; the Earth is filled with Your possessions. (Psalms 104:19-24)
ב הַשָּׁמַ֗יִם מְֽסַפְּרִ֥ים כְּבֽוֹד־אֵ֑ל וּֽמַעֲשֵׂ֥ה יָ֝דָ֗יו מַגִּ֥יד הָרָקִֽיעַ׃ ג י֣וֹם לְ֭יוֹם יַבִּ֣יעַֽ אֹ֑מֶר וְלַ֥יְלָה לְּ֝לַ֗יְלָה יְחַוֶּה־דָּֽעַת׃ ד אֵֽין־אֹ֭מֶר וְאֵ֣ין דְּבָרִ֑ים בְּ֝לִ֗י נִשְׁמָ֥ע קוֹלָֽם׃ ה בְּכָל־הָאָ֨רֶץ ׀ יָ֘צָ֤א קַוָּ֗ם וּבִקְצֵ֣ה תֵ֭בֵל מִלֵּיהֶ֑ם לַ֝שֶּׁ֗מֶשׁ שָֽׂם־אֹ֥הֶל בָּהֶֽם׃ ו וְה֗וּא כְּ֭חָתָן יֹצֵ֣א מֵחֻפָּת֑וֹ יָשִׂ֥ישׂ כְּ֝גִבּ֗וֹר לָר֥וּץ אֹֽרַח׃ ז מִקְצֵ֤ה הַשָּׁמַ֨יִם ׀ מֽוֹצָא֗וֹ וּתְקוּפָת֥וֹ עַל־קְצוֹתָ֑ם וְאֵ֥ין נִ֝סְתָּ֗ר מֵֽחַמָּתוֹ׃
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the works of God’s hands are retold by the sky. Day to day utters speech, and night to night gives life to knowledge. There is no speaking and there are no words — their voice (goes out) without being heard. In the all Earth their rays go out, and to the edge of the world their words, for the sun God made a tent in them. And he goes out like a groom from his canopy, like a warrior to run his course. From the edge of the heavens is his going out and his highest height is at their extremes, and there is none hidden from his heat. (Psalms 19:2-7)
ומה השמש שהוא אחד מאלף אלפים ורבוא רבון ממשמשין שמשמשין לפניו אין כל בריה יכולה להסתכל בו הקב”ה שזיוו מלא עולם על אחת כמה וכמה ואימתי הוא מגלה כבודו כשיאבדו אלילים מן העולם
Why is it that Moses could not behold God’s face?
Just as with the sun, which is just one among thousands of thousands and millions of million of servants that serve before the One — no creature is able to stare at the sun, (so too) the Holy One blessed be, whose radiance fills the universe, is all the more so (impossible to see). But then when will the Holy One reveal this glory? When breathless (false) gods are purged from the world. (Yalqut Shimoni 396)
כי שמש ומגן ה’ אלהים (תהלים פד, יב). פי’ כי שם הוי’ נקרא שמש. וז”ש שמש ומגן פי’ כמו מחיצה המגין בעד אור השמש הוא הדמיון כמו ה’ אלהים. ר”ל כמו שא”א להסתכל בשמש מגודל אור בהירתו אם לא ע”י מגן ומסך המבדיל שהוא המגן בעד אור השמש שיוכלו חלושי הראות להנות מאורו. כך הוא שם הוי’ ב”ה שאורו רב מאד מגודל אור בהירותו לכך הוצרך לצמצמו ולהגבילו בתוף שם אלהים גי’ הטבע שהוא המגן.
Why is God called “sun and shield”?
It’s written: “Sun and Shield are YHVH Elohim” (Psalms 84:12). It’s explained: the name Havayah (YHVH) is called sun/shemesh…and what’s written, “sun and shield”, means that there is something like a barrier protecting against the light of the sun. The sun is like an image of Hashem (YHVH), meaning to say, that it is impossible to look on the sun, because of the greatness of his light’s brightness… Similarly so is the brightness of the name HVYH: its light is very great…therefore it was necessary to contract it and limit it within the name Elohim אלהים — the same gematria/numerology (=86) of Nature Hateva` הטבע, which is the shield. (Baal Shem Tov, Keter Shem Tov 1:218)
וכאשר בקש ידיעת התארים וביקש מחילה על האומה ונענה במחילתם וביקש אחר כן השגת עצמו ית’ והוא אמרו “הראני נא את כבודך” – נענה על המבוקש הראשון – והוא ‘הודיעני נא את דרכיך’ – ונאמר לו “אני אעביר כל טובי על פניך”; ונאמר לו במענה השאלה השניה “לא תוכל לראות את פני וכו'”. אמנם אמרו ‘כל טובי’ – הוא רמז להראות אותו הנמצאות כולם הנאמר עליהם “וירא אלוקים את כל אשר עשה והנה טוב מאוד”; רצוני לומר ב’הראות אותם לו’ – שישיג טבעם והקשרם קצתם בקצת וידע הנהגתו להם איך היא בכלל ובפרט.
A last word: we know God by knowing God’s creation, or, God’s goodness = the goodness of Creation itself
When Moshe asked for knowledge of God’s attributes, God told him: “I will make all My goodness / kol tuvi pass before you” (Exodus 33:19) “All My goodness” means the display to Moshe of all existing beings of Creation, about which it says: “And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it is very good.” By their display, I mean that Moshe would be able to apprehend their nature and the way they are mutually connected, so that he will know how God governs them in general and in detail. (Maimonides/Rambam, Guide for the Perplexed 1:54)

Blessings and prayers for the eclipse, at: neohasid.org/eclipse including texts and links to other Internet resources. May we all find blessing in the wonder. Follow this link for more Earth prayers on neohasid.org. Follow this link for a list of resources from all over the web. –David Seidenberg

Hebrew translation of Rabbi Seidenberg’s prayer for witnessing the solar eclipse by Rabbi Yosef Goldman.


Click to access Blessing-Prayer-and-Sources-for-Solar-Eclipse-2017-David-Seidenberg-neohasid.org_.pdf



1Added in advance of the solar eclipse in North America on 8 April 2024.



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