08 February 2017

Shabbat Shirah, TU b'Shevat and Signs In The Heavens

13 Shevat 5777

This Shabbat is special for a few reasons this year. First, it is the holiday of TU b'Shevat - The New Year for the Trees (which also happens to be my birthday). Second, it is Parashat Beshallach in which we read about the Splitting of the Red Sea. Because of the song we sang in response to that miracle known as Shirat HaYam - Song of the Sea - as well as Shirat Devorah which is read as the haftarah, it is called Shabbat Shirah - the Sabbath of Song. That's already a jam-packed Shabbat, but there is more.
Triple treat: Eclipse, comet, full moon all coming Friday night
Skywatchers will enjoy a rare space triple-header Friday night and early Saturday morning: A "penumbra" lunar eclipse during the full "snow" moon — and the flyby of a comet.

Which brings up the question of what does a lunar eclipse visible over Israel portend for us? B"H it's not a total eclipse!
Eagle-eyed skywatchers will see a "penumbral" lunar eclipse Friday evening during the full moon.
Not as spectacular — or noticeable — as a total lunar eclipse, this rather subtle phenomenon occurs when the moon moves through the outer part of Earth’s shadow (known as the penumbra), according to EarthSky.org.
The outer shadow of the Earth blocks part — but not all — of the sun's rays from reaching the moon, making it appear slightly darker than usual.

...Comet 45P

A few hours after the eclipse, Comet 45P, which has been visible after sunset for the past two months through binoculars and telescopes, makes its closest approach to Earth, when it will be "only" 7.4 million miles away, NASA said.
Hope for clear skies on Leil Shabbat and don't forget to look up and give thanks to HKB"H for all the miracles He makes for us.