THE (DIS)APPEARING MOON

bloodmoonBlood + Vanishing Moons =

SUKKOT

Who knew that Sukkot was so important?

Clearly, God. Or nature. Or both!

Because on Erev Sukkot, we will witness an unusual phenomenon:

On Sunday, September 27, we can see something that hasn’t happened in more than 30 years: a supermoon combined with a lunar eclipse. With that combination, it is called a blood moon! The last time this happened was 1982, and it won’t happen again until 2033.

According to the Hebrew calendar, tomorrow is the 15th of Tishri – a full moon – and the beginning of Sukkot. As we reach this holiday, the skies will celebrate in a spectacular fashion: In the evening, we will see a larger-than-normal harvest moon begin to dim and turn red, lasting for more than an hour before returning to its normal brightness and color in the sky.

Sukkot is THE “nature” holiday of Judaism, a time to think about our planet and our symbiotic relationship. It is not by accident that Sukkot is simply called “He-Chag – THE Festival.” On Sukkot, we dwell in temporary spaces (sukkot), we wave the lulav and etrog, and we rejoice at the beauty of nature. It is a time to look up through the open roof of the sukkah, to gaze at the stars and the moon, and to recognize that God has a role to play in the celestial panorama before us.

If you want to enjoy this spectacular Sukkot gift, here are the times for this celestial event:

  • Partial umbral eclipse begins: 8:07 pm
  • Total eclipse begins: 9:11 pm
  • Greatest eclipse: 9:47 pm
  • Total eclipse ends: 10:23 pm
  • Partial eclipse ends: 11:27 pm

By the time we end our Erev Sukkot dinner, the lunar eclipse will begin. Let’s join together and witness the heavens wishing the world a “had sameach,” a happy Sukkot!