Some Last-Minute Eclipse Advice From Your Resident Eclipse Chaser

Good Morning Jewfolk! It is officially the day I have been waiting for when a Total Solar Eclipse will pass over a large swath of the United States.

While our fair city of Cincinnati is not on the path of totality, it is right on the edge. The skies will darken, and if you stay in Cincinnati for the day, you will experience a 99% eclipse. You will be able to look up at the eclipse through a special set of glasses to witness the celestial event. 

Eclipse Totality Madras OR. 2017 (shot on an IPhone 6)

However, there is a stark difference between 99% and Totality. It is the difference between looking at a picture of ice cream and eating ice cream. 

Totality is the brief few minutes of the eclipse when one can remove protective eyewear and look directly at the sun. Only then can one experience the deepest black surrounded by the corona or the ring of the sun’s light on the edges of the moon and a 360-degree sunset. 

I first experienced totality in 2017 during the “Great American Eclipse,” and it isn’t too late for you to do the same. If you can head to the nearest location that will experience totality. For most of us in Cincinnati, that means heading North to Dayton. If you plan on heading to totality, expect heavy traffic and consider taking alternative routes. 

Jewish traditions generally embrace the basic scientific explanations for how the universe ticks, this hasn’t stopped rabbis and scholars from exploring the captivating mysteries of eclipses, searching for omens and deeper meanings.

Eclipse in Madras OR. 2017

The Hebrew term for an eclipse is “likui”. According to the Talmud, an eclipse signals ominous times ahead for the world. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Schneerson, said that eclipses are a time for introspection and prayer. 

While I am not a Rabbi, being cast in shadow is a perfect allegory for how it feels to be a Jew in the world right now. Jewish history is full of examples of times when we have been in the shadow, but we always emerge into the light. No shadow is forever. It is important to remember that the darkness will pass. Not at 2,000 miles an hour like the shadow of the moon, but it will pass. 

Happy Eclipse Day!

Eclipse Totality in Madras OR. 2017