Lunar Eclipse: Facts, Myths and Superstitions

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June 15, 2011 12:00
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A view of lunar eclipse from the Wailing Wall, one of the most sacred sites in Judaism, located in the Occupied Jerusalem. Photo - Shiryaakov

According to Jewish Rabbinical tradition, a solar eclipse is a sign of trouble for the world and a lunar eclipse is a sign of trouble for Israel. Three lunar eclipses took place in 1996AD. The first, on 3 April, 1996, a full lunar eclipse appeared over occupied Jerusalem. On 26 September of the same year, a second lunar eclipse created a blood-like image and was visible in occupied Jerusalem on the eve of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. A third lunar eclipse happened six months later during the Purim festival, which is the celebration to remember how the famed Jewish Queen Esther defeated the wicked Haman.

Thus, the three lunar eclipses occurring within one year on or near three Jewish celebration days stirred tremendous excitement and anxiety among rabbis in Israel. A blood moon, a full lunar eclipse during which the moon takes on a reddish, almost bloody appearance, appeared twice the same year and fell on the first and last feast of Israel. The Rabbis felt this was a cosmic sign from God of impending trouble in Israel. The ancient Jewish belief is that a blood moon (lunar eclipse) could symbolise bloodshed and war.

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