Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Leo and Av

With Tisha B'Av approaching, I thought that the following was appropriate. On Tisha B'Av we mourn the tragic loss of both Batei Mikdash as well as many other tragedies that have marred our past. Both Batei Mikdash were destroyed in this month of Av.

The Rema points out that the sign of Av is Leo, the Lion. This is a month when royalty should be able to shine. The Beis HaMikdash, Chazal mention, was designed in such a fashion as to give the appearance like a lion. It was broader in the front of the building than it was in the back. Additionally, the fire on the Mizbeach was initially shaped like a lion. That which it took the shape of a dog in the second Beis HaMikdash is also reminiscent of a lion, says the Rema. There are 12 main mazalos and 36 other constellations in the sky. Each of the twelve rules over 3 of the others. In Leo's domain is Canis Major which is depicted as a dog. Thus, Leo was represented on the Mizbeach in the second Beis HaMikdash, although a secondary figure was chosen to demonstrate that things were not the same as they had been in the first Beis HaMikdash.

Due to our sins the decree was sealed that royalty be taken from us and the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed. This happened in Av to demonstrate that the appearance of royalty was no longer being demonstrated by the Jews. Rather, Nevuchadnetzar, described both in Pesukim and by Chazal as a lion, came into the Mikdash, symbolized by the lion, and destroyed it in the month of the lion.

May we merit to witness the rebuilding of this holy temple very quickly!


Shtikler said...

An interesting observation in line with this theme:
The זמירות on שבת night make reference to both opposing "lion forces:"
● In כל מקדש שביעי, we mention אוהבי ה' המחכים בבניין אריאל (although I thought I remember seeing that the 3rd בית המקדש would take on a slightly different shape - like that of a human.)
● Then, in י-ה ריבון we beseech HaShem, פְּרוֹק יַת עָנָךְ מִפּוּם אַרְיְוָתָא, to deliver us from the mouth of the lion and bring us out of גלות

May it be במהרה בימינו בקרוב!

Chanoch said...

There is an interesting "Kinnos" that is said on Leil Tisha B'av, that discusses how the mazalos were aligned on the 9th of Av, when the Bais Hamikdash was destroyed. I wonder if there is any astrological tool online (or any software available) that could show the astrological sky on the day the 1st and 2nd Bais Hamikdash were destroyed.

Ari S. said...

There are plenty of great programs (many free) that can recreate the night sky at any given point in time. One very easy one to use is Stellarium (and it's free). However, the Kinah that is read on the night of Tisha B'Av is not refering to a specific point in time. It mentions how all twelve of the mazalos cried to Hashem. The twelve mazalos are a way to refer to all the forces of nature and this Kinah is refering to that concept. All twelve can never be seen at any point in time (something Rashi points out in Rosh Hashana). One interesting point that I discuss in my upcoming book is that Capricorn (G'di) and Aquarius (D'li) are mentioned in reverse order in this Kinah.

Chanoch said...

Ari: What upcoming book? Is the focus of your book Astrology as it relates to Judaism?

I'm familiar with that Rashi...

Still, wouldn't you think there would be an interesting setup of mazalos for when the Bais Hamikdash was last destroyed?

Ari S. said...

I checked and did not see anything out of the ordinary during the summer months in the year 70 CE. Also, thanks for the interest in the book. It focuses about astrology as it relates to Judaism. Something along the lines of the following will probably be used to describe it in the jacket, etc. As you know, the words, concepts, and storylines in Tanach can be understood in many ways. One dimension of understanding, one that Chazal refer to often, has been lost on modern man. Unlike earlier sources who depended heavily upon astronomical science, modern man is almost completely ignorant of it. This had led to a loss of this understanding of Chazal and Torah. Through simplified information of astronomy and ancient astrology, helpful charts, and alluring pictures, this book gives the reader an added layer of insight into the figures and themes of Torah. It will fascinate the reader and inspire an appreciation both for the Creation and its Creator as well as of the precision and beauty of Torah.

This sefer does not only appeal to those who may be scientifically inclined, though they will appreciate the merging of science, astronomy, and Torah. But readers interested in learning deeper understandings of Chumash and Nevi’im will also find this new perspective fascinating (and through anecdotal evidence I can tell you that this has certainly been the case whenever I have shared any of the contents of this book with anyone else). Furthermore, it gives insight into the characters of Tanach and provides understanding not only into their own spiritual growth, but to the growth of all members of Klal Yisroel. The sefer breaks down each and every concept of astronomy so that even those who have no interest in this science will find it an enjoyable and intriguing read.

It is currently in the copyediting stage at the publisher and that is expected to be finished next week. Keep your eyes out for it some time after Sukkos!