- Lunar eclipses are ill omens for Israel, since Jews follow the lunar calendar, while solar eclipses are ill omens for non-Jews, or Gentiles, as they followed solar calendars.
Jews traditionally interpreted solar eclipses to be the result of human sin angering God, who would then hide the sun as a warning to his people, according to the Babylonian Talmud. Ancient Hebrews knew that eclipses could be predicted, but still believed they were a sign.
“When the luminaries are stricken, it is an ill omen for the world. To what can we compare this? To a king of flesh and blood who prepared a feast for his servants and set a lantern to illuminate the hall. But then he became angry with them and said to his servant: ‘Take the lantern from before them and seat them in darkness,’” – Talmud, Sukkah 29a
The text goes on to state that lunar eclipses are ill omens for Israel, since Jews follow the lunar calendar, while solar eclipses are ill omens for non-Jews, or Gentiles, as they followed solar calendars.
Modern interpretations of solar eclipses in the Jewish faith vary, but still depict the event as a negative thing or, at the very least, a time for contemplation of one’s place in the universe, according to the Rabbinical Assembly.
Whether or not one views the solar eclipse as a negative event according to their interpretation of the Jewish faith, the Rabbinical Assembly prescribed a particular blessing to be said over the eclipse.
“בָּרּוְך אַ תָּ ה יְיָּ אֱֹלהֵינּו מֶ לְֶך הָּעֹולָּם, שֶ כֹּחֹו ּוגְ בּורָּ תֹו מָּ לֵא עֹולָּם” (Blessed…Whose power and strength fill the world.)