Is Comet ISON Jewish and a Sign for Mashiah?
Midrash Tefillat Ribbi Shimon Bar Yohai:
And in the beginning of the seven-year cycle, the first year has no rain. In the second year, there is a half-famine. In the third year, there will be a great famine and there will be no rain. And in the fourth year, mediocre. And in the fifth year, there will be great plenty.I'm interrupting the translation to bring you this chart from Israel's Water Authority showing the Kinneret level since 2004. Notice that the first year after Shemitta in this cycle, 5769, had very little rain. The next year, 5770, was not much better and we were still below the lower red line, causing there to be 2 years in a row of under-lower-red-line water levels, which is why it's called a "half-famine". The next year, 5771, still kept us under the lower red line for most of the year, causing 3 years in a row of this situation, earning it the distinction of a "great famine". The fourth year, 5772, was a good rain year, which got us out over the lower red line. The fifth year, 5773, was B"H a very good rain year, earning it the distinction of "great plenty".
|Source: Israel Water Authority|
Now, back to the translation:
And in the sixth year, one star will sprout, and on its head is a staff of fire like a spear. And the nations of the world say, "It is ours!", but it is not true - rather, it belongs to Israel, as it says, "There shall step forth a star out of Jacob". And the time of its shining is in the first watch of the night until 2 hours. And it will gather for 15 days in the east and turn around to the west and do 15 days. And if it lasts longer, it is good for Israel.
While I am aware that there are multiple versions of this Midrash (such as those mentioned here and on the page following), at least this version seems to be promising. And as all these Midrashim continue, it is viewed as a sign for Mashiah.
Consider the news about the Comet ISON:
Also, is this Sivuv from the east to the west referring to ISON's Sivuv around the sun after its perihelion?
Maybe, but perhaps there is an alternate explanation. According to this site:
Dec 5th: By now it should be worth looking for Comet ISON in the western sky after sunset, too....in addition to the east before dawn. Perhaps, the Sivuv and the 15 days in the west begin Dec. 5th when it starts to be visible in the west.
And note that it's only visible in the evening right after sunset. NBCNews reports that:
On Dec. 20, Comet ISON sets at 6:24 p.m. local time, 14 minutes after the end of evening twilight.Is that considered the first watch of the night until 2 hours? I guess it depends on when you calculate Tzeit Hakochavim and whether 2 hours means 2 full hours or into the 2nd hour.
Finally, all this could be a moot point if the comet breaks apart during its perihelion on the first day of Hanukka.
In any case, may we soon merit seeing amazing things both in the sky and here on earth.