10 Cheshvan 5782 / Saturday, October 16, 2021 | Torah Reading: Lech Lecha
dot  Add to favorites   dot  Set as homepage  
    Create an account    |    Sign in
    My Account     Orders History     Help
  My Country:  
  United States   
   My Currency:  
  US Dollar   
Home Page Torah Portion Spirituality and Faith Foundations of Judaism Inspirational Stories Family & Daily Life Holidays and Fast Days Israel and Society
   Heart of the Parsha     Chassidic Pearls     Chana’s Blessing     Parsha Beams             
Parsha Beams  
HomeTorah PortionParsha BeamsNitzavim: Astrology and Atonement
  Advanced Search

Nitzavim: Astrology and Atonement    

Nitzavim: Astrology and Atonement

What is the true power of astrologists and clairvoyants? Can they really see what's in store for a person? Can a person change his or her luck?


"It's not up in the sky..." (Deuteronomy 30:12).


It never ceases to amaze me how naïve I am. Recently, a very observant family from one of the ultra-religious communities in the New York metropolitan area visited Israel. They asked for my opinion about visiting a certain clairvoyant and astrologist in Tel Aviv with an outstanding reputation for predicting future events, especially calamities. Since I have no contact whatsoever with astrologists or clairvoyants, I couldn't voice an opinion. But they insisted. I told them that there are many righteous tzaddikim in Israel whom they can see while they're here, whose blessings are like money in the bank. This didn't satisfy them; they insisted on paying a quick two-hundred dollars to find out what the stars hold for them. The Tel-Aviv star-gazer told the family that the mother would break her leg soon after they'd return to America. The prediction was accurate; a few days after they landed back in Kennedy Airport, the mother broke her leg.


Hashem's Divine Providence is amazing. A few days later, a newly observant individual was innocently telling me about his past. He mentioned having frequented a certain clairvoyant and astrologist in Tel Aviv with an outstanding reputation for predicting the future – it turned out to be the same woman that the observant family from New York had seen. Without me asking, he told me that the middle-aged woman seemed to be traditional but that she neither covered her hair nor dressed modestly. That was the big tipoff. If she wasn't modest, then it was absolutely clear that her powers – as accurate as they might be – do not originate from the side of holiness.


Many people make the mistake of thinking that they are under the influence of the stars. Yet, a person with emuna who relies on prayer and Hashem's Divine Providence is way above the stars, as Hashem told Abraham.[1] Furthermore, our sages teach that the Jewish People are above the influence of the stars; that is, when they cling to Hashem Who is above the stars. Even so, great spiritual merit is required to overturn something that is ordained in the stars.[2]


What carries the clout to overturn a harsh decree that can be seen in a person's horoscope? Our sages tell us that it's the emuna and teshuva that one strengthens him/herself with on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.


The holy Chattam Sofer ob"m expresses this principle articulately in an eye-opening explanation:[3] in his elaboration of our passage at hand, "It's not up in the sky..." he says that a person's fate does not depend on astrology, i.e. the stars up in the sky. He cites a Midrash that explains that the atonement power of Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement – comes from the day itself, for Hashem instilled in the Tenth day of Tishrei a unique power for cleansing a person from sin, provided that a person makes teshuva, as our sages tell us at the end of Tractate Yoma. Yet, if the power of atonement were dependent on a particular star map, or position of the constellations as they appear one day a year, then Yom Kippur would have to fall on that particular day every single year. Yet it doesn't, cites the Chattam Sofer. The earliest Yom Kippur and the latest Yom Kippur can be a month or more apart, when the star maps are totally different.


Hashem gives the day its power, not the stars.


What's more, the Gemara tells us in several places that Hashem gives tremendous power to the Rabbinical Court on earth, because once more, "It's not up in the sky...". The Chattam Sofer tells the story from the Gemara[4] of a rabbinical court that blessed the new moon a day too early. According to their calculation, Yom Kippur came out a day ahead of time. The people within the jurisdiction of the rabbinical court all fasted a day ahead of time, on what their rabbis told them was Yom Kippur. Hashem accepted their fast, prayers and atonement. So we see, it's truly not up in the sky. Rather, our future depends on our teshuva and our heeding Hashem and His true tzaddikim. Blessings for a wonderful inscription in the Book of Long and Happy Life for a wonderful New Year!




[1] See Rashi on Genesis 15:5

[2] See Maharsha on Berachot 5b

[3] See Torat Moshe, Drosh for 27 Elul

[4] Rosh Hashana 21a


New Comment    New Comment
   See More Articles By Rabbi Lazer Brody
   Read more about Parsha Beams

Top of article    Top of article       Email This Article    Email This Article          Share to Facebook       Print version    Print version

 Join the distribution list Join the distribution list
If you would like to receive other related articles or Breslev.co.il features via e-mail, please enter your e-mail address here:


 Related Articles Related Articles

Toldot: Peacock or Vulture               Pinchas: The Little Onion               Shlach Lecha: Breaking the Barriers
 Toldot: Peacock or Vulture  Pinchas: The Little Onion  Shlach Lecha: Breaking the Barriers

  0 Talkbacks for this article     

Add Your CommentAdd Your Comment    Add Your Comment    

In Honor of:    In Memory of:
Like What You Read?
Help Breslev Israel spread the light of Rebbe Nachman
across the globe, and be a partner in making a better world.
Click here to support Breslev.co.il
 Products of the Day Products of the Day
Back  1 2 3  Next
Back  1 2 3  Next
 Most talked about Most talked about
Up  1 2 3  Down
 Most read Most read
Up  1 2 3  Down
 Facebook Facebook
 Mailing List Mailing List
Subscribe Here:   


open toolbar