Should A Bracha Be Recited When Seeing The Solar Eclipse?

Shulchan Aruch (OC 227:1) lists many natural events for which the bracha of ‘Oseh Ma’aseh Breishis’ (‘He performs the acts of creation’) is recited, such as lightening, thunder and great winds. However, an eclipse is not included in this list. It therefore may be presumed that a blessing is not recited. Why should this be? Isn’t an eclipse an incredible and awe inspiring event, as much so as thunder and lightning?

Rav Chaim David Halevi, former Av Beis Din of Tel Aviv and Yaffo, suggests in Teshuvos Asei Licha Rav (5:7) that ‘Oseh Ma’aseh Breishis’ is only recited for natural events, which are part of ‘Ma’aseh Breishis’. The Talmud (Sukkah 29a) states that the likui chama, sun diminutions, is a response to man’s sinful behavior. It is a punishment and ominous sign. Many commentaries assume that likui chama refers to solar eclipses. As such, ‘Ma’aseh Breishis‘ cannot be recited, since eclipses are not part of the natural sequence and order of creation.

How can an eclipse be a response to human conduct when eclipses occur at predictable points in time? See Maharal, Be’er Hagolah 6 and Aruch L’ner (Sukkah 29a).

Courtesy of OU Kosher 

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