We have a total solar eclipse coming up this Monday, August 21. This is really a once in a lifetime occurrence. Because the moon’s orbit is elliptical, its shadow often misses the Earth. Even when it hits the Earth, because our planet’s surface is 75% water, eclipses are likely to be visible only from the ocean. The fact that this eclipse cuts a swath across the entirety of the continental US, making it visible from just about everywhere, is nearly unprecedented.
So, ask yourself this: do you say a bracha when seeing an eclipse? If so, what bracha? If not, why not? (After all, we recite brachos on far less impressive and far more familiar natural phenomena!)
Rabbi Rice serves as assistant rabbi at Congregation Anshei Chesed in Long Island. He also teaches Halacha and Machshava at the Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls. We are very excited about this new series and encourage listeners to check back each week for new installments on OU Torah online or by using the OU Torah app for iOS and Android. If the timeliness of Insights to the Solar Eclipse is any indicator, Timely Topics in Halacha promises to be very timely indeed!