Help support Jewish Journalism!


Solar eclipse, Elul, the moon—can we receive a miracle?

By Melinda Ribner
On Monday Aug. 21st, the astrological time of the new moon, millions of people will travel distances for an optimal vantage point to witness this total eclipse of the sun. I know people in Florida who are flying to Greenville, SC. for a more clear view of this most awesome, unusual and once in a lifetime occurrence. For a few minutes, during this eclipse, the moon will block the light of the sun, the sky will darken during the day and the beauty of the sun’s corona will be visible. This eclipse is only visible in the United States. The last total eclipse of the sun across the U.S. was 1918.

Change Is Possible
There is so much we can learn from this event. This event has a powerful message particularly for this upcoming Hebrew month of Elul. The first thing that comes to mind that we can learn is that everything can change. We can change. This month of Elul is known as the headquarters for repentance. As the month right before the High Holidays, Elul is a time for the kind of inner introspection and healing needed to better fulfill our soul mission in the upcoming new year. The month of Elul is the time of calling out for a new way, a time of healing, forgiveness and deeper attunement to the soul within us. During Elul, we complete unfinished business and contemplate the changes we want to make in the upcoming year. As we approach a new year, we may sometimes doubt our capacity for real change. This eclipse demonstrates that the natural order can be transcended even if just for a few minutes and it reminds us that we can also transcend and change.

The natural order is that the sun shines in the day and the moon shines at night and is sometimes visible during the day. I am reminded of a quote from my books on biblical women.” The external world functions with the light of sun. Everything under the sun is about doing, accomplishing, achieving. This is what masculine energy is all about. We must all live and work under the light of the sun.” As King Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” On the other hand, the moon, representing the feminine, is always changing, waxing and waning each month. At each phase she is transmitting important message to our souls. During the waxing, we learn how to radiate our light for the world to see who we are.  During the waning, we learn humility. We learn to let go to that which is greater than ourselves. The light of the moon is the gateway to hidden riches beyond the physical world.

That Which Has Been Hidden
For a few moments on Aug. 21during this eclipse, the feminine moon will darken and dominate the sky. We will not see the light of the moon but rather her darkness. This intense event is still an awesome testimony of the rise and power of the feminine to reveal that which has been hidden. While the feminine is associated with greater sensitivity and connectivity, the feminine is also associated with judgement and destruction. We do not know what the impact of this event will be but it comes at a very extraordinary time. To intensify matters, the planet Mercury associated with communication and technology goes retrograde this Friday for three weeks.

Frightening Times
This once in a lifetime supernatural event of a total solar eclipse reminds us that we do not control nature, nor do we control God. Regardless of our political, religious or national affiliation, we, in all humility, must acknowledge that we are all simply human beings, vulnerable and awestruck to the majesty of what is beyond us. May this event help to raise our consciousness and open our hearts to our shared humanity.  May we each in our own ways make real efforts to become better people and bring greater love into this world.

We are now living in frightening times. We can try to deny what is taking place, but that does not make the danger go away. We can fight with each other, blame others for what is taking place, but that only weakens us. Or we can come together in prayer and good deeds. That will make us stronger.

It would be wonderful if we each took on more mitzvot during this upcoming month of Elul such as give more charity, pray more, extend ourselves to care for other people, learn Torah, become more observant. etc. We need to show God and our selves that we love life, we love ourselves and others and we are committed to living the kind of life God intended for us, the kind of life that is in alignment with godliness.  Now is the time to call out in prayer for a miracle. This solar eclipse is a powerful reminder of the spiritual opportunity of the month of Elul.

Melinda Ribner, author of The Secret Legacy of Biblical Women, Kabbalah Month by Month, New Age Judaism is a former resident of Albany. To be subscribed to her newsletter contact her at or


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.