Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Showering in Dust

As mentioned in yesterday's post, this weekend will mark the Perseid meteor shower. That post reflected on some of the significance one can find in meteor showers that is applicable in one's personal life. Interestingly, the word for meteors in shas is zikos. Perhaps not so coincidentally, this week's haftarah discusses zikos, as well. (See Yishayah 50:11.)

In the haftarah the word is meant to describe Klal Yisrael and is referring to them as zikos, or igniters of fire. Because meteors appear as streaks of fire across the sky, the word zikos is applicable to them too.

Besides the symbolism mentioned in the last post, perhaps, there is added meaning when referring to this word usage in the haftarah. Many times, zikos, meteors, are the remnants of a comet that has passed through an area of space long ago. As Earth passes through that same area the dust particles left behind from that much earlier comet enter our atmosphere and flare up. This gives the appearance of a shower of meteors; hence the term for such events, meteor showers.

Essentially, the amazing spectacle seen from our planet is really the residual effect from many years past. This is something that is definitely attributable to Klal Yisrael. We are a nation built on the actions of our forefathers. In addition to trying to follow in their giant footsteps, it is often their merits that we are dependant on. Just like the comet left behind something that was imperceptible to us until the moment it interacts with the atmosphere, so too, our forefathers' actions were unnoticeable but still capable of affecting the world when necessary.

This haftarah has a significant amount of astronomical imagery within it. I discussed it at greater length in a post last year that you can read by clicking here.

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