Monday, August 9, 2010

Zodiac

Horoscopes are fun to read, especially when they tell you that you are about to get rich or find sudden fame. While telling the future through one’s horoscope is not part of Judaism, this does not mean that all aspects of astrology are false.

It might surprise you to learn that Jewish tradition recognizes the twelve signs of the zodiac, assigning the visual symbol of each to one of the months of the Hebrew calendar. Even though the zodiac symbols are known today by their Hellenic names, they appear, according to historians, to predate even the first Mesopotamian cultures. The zodiac’s ancient origin supports the Jewish belief that God taught the zodiac to Adam, the first human.

It is interesting to note that the Jewish holidays and the zodiac month in which they fall are often related.

Aries/Ram - zodiac for Nisan, when the Israelites sacrificed lambs and left Egypt on Passover. (Don’t forget, Egyptians worshiped the ram.)

Taurus/Bull - zodiac for Iyar.

Gemini/Twins - zodiac for Sivan, when God gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments on twin tablets (Shavuot).

Cancer/Crab - zodiac for Tammuz.

Leo/Lion - zodiac for Av, while we mourn the destruction of the two Temples in Av, the sages teach that someday it will be a feast on which we celebrate God’s might (Tisha B’Av).

Virgo/Virgin - zodiac for Elul, which is the month leading to the High Holidays in which we try to recapture the purity of our spiritual essence.

Libra/Scales - zodiac for Tishrei, when God judges the people on Rosh Hashana and seals His judgement on Yom Kippur.

Scorpio/Scorpion - zodiac for Cheshvan.

Sagittarius/Archer - zodiac for Kislev, when Jews celebrate the military victory of the Maccabees (Chanukah).

Capricorn/Goat - zodiac for Tevet.

Aquarius/Water Bearer - zodiac for Shevat, during which we celebrate Tu B’Shevat, the renewed growth of the trees.

Pisces/Fish - zodiac for Adar, when we celebrate hidden miracles (Purim) which are kabbalistically related to fish (hidden under the waters).

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