Signs - Ot - אות

By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)


In this study I would like to examine the signs or omens that HaShem uses to communicate with His people. As with all signs, they have significance only to those who see them. For example, if a solar eclipse is a sign, then it is only a sign to those who actually see the eclipse. If the rainbow is to be a sign, then it is a sign to those who see it. If the rainbow is visible in Seattle (they have lots of rainbows in Seattle), then its message is to those who see it in Seattle. It has no meaning to those in Vancouver, B.C.


Keep this in mind as we examine the various signs that HaShem use to communicate. We will explore some of these signs and try to understand what we are to learn from these signs. Pay attention to the audience of the sign.


The first use of signs in the Tanach[1], is in:


Bereshit (Genesis) 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for festivals, and for days, and years:


This word signs – ot - אות is the focus of this study. I will look at the uses of the Hebrew word in the above passage. Later, we will examine the equivalent Greek word. The Hebrew word, "sign", is defined in Strong's as:


226 'owth, ot - אות; prob. from 225 (in the sense of appearing); a single (lit. or fig.), as a flag, beacon, monument, omen, prodigy, evidence, etc.:- mark, miracle, (en-) sign, token.


Rashi says the following about ‘signs’:


2 [If there will arise among you a prophet...] and he gives you a sign Hebrew אוֹת , [meaning a sign] in the heavens, as it is stated in the case of Gideon [who said to the angel]: “then show me a sign (אוֹת) ” (Shoftim [Judges] 6:17), and then it says [further], “let it be dry only upon the fleece [and upon all the ground let there be dew]” (Shoftim [Judges]  6:39).


Thus we learn that anytime we see an ot, a sign, we are looking at a reference to the celestial object.


The Hebrew word for sign, ot - אות, gives us significamnt insight into HaShem’s plans. Ot - אות, Has a vav between an alef and a tav. The vav (ו) is the Hebrew letter that is often used for the prefix ‘and’. It is the letter of connection. The alef (א) is the first letter of the Hebrew alefbet. The tav (ת) is the last letter of the Hebrew alefbet. Thus the Hebrew word ‘ot – אות’, sign, carries the connotaion of something that connect the beginning and the end.


Ot, signs, are used for a variety of purposes. The moon, for example, is used as an ominous sign to the Jews when it is eclipsed, because Jews reckon time by the moon. The Midrash provides some insight into the celestial signs:


Midrash Rabbah - Genesis VI:1 AND HASHEM SAID: LET THERE BE LIGHTS (I, 14). R. Johanan began thus: Who appointest the moon for seasons (Ps. CIV, 19). R. Johanan commented: The orb of the sun alone was created to give light. If so, why was the moon created? ‘For seasons’: in order to sanctify new moons and years thereby.[2] R. Shila of Kefar Temarta[3] said in R. Johanan's name: Yet even so, The sun knoweth its coming (ib.): from the sun one knows its coming [sc. of the month], for we count the beginning of the month only from sunset. Justa Habra[4] said in R. Berekiah's name: And they journeyed Irom Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month, etc. (Num. XXXIII, 3): but if you count by the moon, then so far there were only thirteen sunsets?[5] Hence it follows that we count not from the moon but from sunset. R. ‘Azariah said in R. Hanina's name: The orb of the sun alone was created to give light; yet if so, why was the moon created? Because the Holy One, blessed be He, foresaw that the peoples of the world would treat them as divinities. Said the Lord: ‘If they are two, opposed to each other,[6] and yet the peoples of the world treat them as divinities, how much more would they do so if there were but one!’ R. Berekiah said in R. Simon's name: Both were created in order to give light, as it says, AND LET THEM BE FOR LIGHTS, etc. AND LET THEM BE FOR SIGNS: this refers to the Sabbaths[7]; AND FOR SEASONS: to the three pilgrimage festivals; AND FOR DAYS: to the beginnings of the months; AND YEARS means the sanctification of the years.[8]


Thus we see that HaShem uses celestial signs, as communicated by the sun, moon, and stars. These signs are meant to communicate their message to those who see them for their intended purpose. The use of the sun, moon, and stars for signs, is a dramatic way to communicate to the those on earth. When the moon is eclipsed, for example, it is visible to more than half the world’s population.


Rashi says that we should read omen rather than signs, in Bereshit 1:14, for when the luminaries are eclipsed it is an ill omen for the world,[9] as in the verse:


Jeremiah 10:2 'Be not dismayed at the signs of heaven'


The Talmud tells us about the meaning of an eclipsed moon when used as an omen:


Succah 29a It was taught: R. Meir said, Whenever the luminaries are in eclipse, it is a bad omen for Israel since they are inured to blows. This may be compared to a school teacher who comes to school with a strap in his hand. Who becomes apprehensive? He who is accustomed to be daily punished. Our Rabbis taught, When the sun is in eclipse it is a bad omen for idolaters; when the moon is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for Israel, since Israel reckons by the moon and idolaters by the sun. If it is in eclipse in the east, it is a bad omen for those who dwell in the east; if in the west, it is a bad omen for those who dwell in the west; if in the midst of heaven it is bad omen for the whole world. If its face is red as blood, [it is a sign that] the sword is coming to the world; if it is like sack-cloth, the arrows of famine are coming to the world; if it resembles both, the sword and the arrows of famine are coming to the world. If the eclipse is at sunset calamity will tarry in its coming; if at dawn, it hastens on its way: but some say the order is to be reversed. And there is no nation which is smitten that its gods are not smitten together with it, as it is said, And against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments. But when Israel fulfill the will of the Omnipresent, they need have no fear of all these [omens] as it is said, Thus saith HaShem, 'Learn not the way of the nations, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the nations are dismayed at them, the idolaters will be dismayed, but Israel will not be dismayed’.


But when you comply with the will of HaShem, you need not worry about punishment. There are many such verses in the Tanach alluding to the heavenly bodies as omens, for example, in reference to Hezekiah in:


Melachim (II Kings) 20:9 This sign shall you have ... the shadow shall go back ten degrees.


Thus the sun’s movement was the sign for King Hezekiah. In this next verse, HaShem is indicating that he will use celestial events as signs of the end of the age.


Yoel (Joel) 3:3 and I will exhibit wonders in the heavens and the earth.


According to many of the Sages, signs refers to the luminaries function as man's guide (i.e. compass) as navigational aids.[10]


HaRechasim leBik'ah comments: They are 'signs' of HaShem's greatness in two ways: (1) they are constant signs and symbols of His omnipotence, as in the verse:


Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 40:26 Lift up you eyes on high and behold Who has created these things;


(2) and that they sometimes diverge from their natural course to comply with His will as when the sun stopped for Joshua:


Yehoshuah (Joshua) 10:12-14 On the day HaShem gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to HaShem in the presence of Israel: "O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon." So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when HaShem listened to a man. Surely HaShem was fighting for Israel!


The Book of Jasher, chapter 88:59, records this:


59 And Joshua and all the fighting people went up from Gilgal, and Joshua came suddenly to them, and smote these five kings with a great slaughter. 60 And the Lord confounded them before the Children of Israel, who smote them with a terrible slaughter in Gibeon, and pursued them along the way that goes up to Beth Horon unto Makkedah, and they fled from before the Children of Israel. 61 And whilst they were fleeing, the Lord sent upon them hailstones from heaven, and more of them died by the hailstones, than by the slaughter of the Children of Israel. 62 And the Children of Israel pursued them, and they still smote them in the road, going on and smiting them. 63 And when they were smiting, the day was declining toward evening, and Joshua said in the sight of all the people, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou moon in the valley of Ajalon, until the nation shall have revenged itself upon its enemies. 64 And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Joshua, and the sun stood still in the midst of the heavens, and it stood still six and thirty times, and the moon also stood still and hastened not to go down a whole day. 65 And there was no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened to the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel.[11]


Another very visible sign, is the sign of the Noachide covenant and has come to represent the Gentiles who have turned to HaShem and now follow the Noachide commands. The rainbow is a sign of the Noachide covenant.


Bereshit (Genesis) 9:12-17 And HaShem said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between HaShem and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." So HaShem said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth."


What is the message communicated by the rainbow to those who see it? To answer this question, we need to understand what it means when a rainbow does not appear:


Soncino Zohar, Vayikra, Section 3, Page 15a R. Jose continued: ‘What is the meaning of “this (zoth) is to me”, in the verse quoted? Said the Holy One, blessed be He, The waters of Noah have caused me to reveal zoth in the world, as it is written, “zoth (this) is the sign of my covenant with them, my bow have I set in the heaven” (Gen. IX, 12, 13), as much as to say, there is none who heeds the glory of My Name which is alluded to by the word zoth. Hence it is one of the signs of a saintly and virtuous man that the rainbow does not appear in his days and the world does not require this sign while he is alive. Such a one is he who prays for the world and shields it, like Rabbi Simeon ben Yochai, in whose days the world never required the sign of the rainbow, for he was himself a sign. For if ever punishment was decreed against the world he could annul it.


Chazal have taught that the rainbow appears when HaShem sees that the world deserves to be flooded, He then puts His bow in the sky to let the people of that place know that they deserve to be destroyed by a flood. Thus the flood in Noah’s day came because the people were wicked. Thus the message of the rainbow sign is to encourage the people to repent of their wicked deeds.


In the narrative of Noah, the Hebrew root for covenant appears eight times. The number of people saved via the ark is eight (Noah, three sons and their wives). The sign of the covenant (Bereshit 9:12) is the rainbow, with a gematria of eight hundred. The word rainbow, in all forms, appears eight times in the Torah. This is interesting because the number eight is also associated with the sign of the covenant that HaShem made with Avraham.


Bereshit (Genesis) 17:9-14 Then HaShem said to Abraham, "As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner--those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant."


We circumcise Jewish males on their eighth day of their life. So, what does eight have to do with signs and covenants? We learned elsewhere that the number eight always alludes to a departure from the natural world, and entry into the supernatural world. This suggests that the Noachide covenant will bring the Gentile who obeys the Noachide commands, into the olam haba. In the same way the covenant of circumcision is meant to bring the Jews into the olam haba.


The writer of the book of Romans indicates that the sign of circumcision is a seal of the righteousness that Avraham had by faithful obedience to HaShem’s command.


Romans 4:9-12 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness. Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.


There was another covenant which also had signs. The covenant that HaShem made with Israel at Sinai came with specific commands that are signs. The first sign is that they would worship at Mt. Sinai. Following this first sign, the Bne Israel would be given the Shabbat as a sign. This sign would be used to cause us to remember that HaShem makes us holy, to cause us to remember that HaShem created the world, and finaly to cause us to know that He is HaShem.


Exodus 3:12 And HaShem said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship HaShem on this mountain."


Exodus 31:13 "Say to the Israelites, 'You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am HaShem, who makes you holy.


Exodus 31:17 It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days HaShem made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested.'"


Ezekiel 20:11-12 I gave them my decrees and made known to them my laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. Also I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign: between us, so they would know that I HaShem made them holy.


Ezekiel 20:19-20 I am HaShem your HaShem; follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Keep my Sabbaths holy, that they may be a sign: between us. Then you will know that I am HaShem your G-d."


Sabbath is a sign of the covenant that HaShem made with the Bne Israel at Sinai. No Gentile may observe the Shabbat under pain of death. When Jews observe the Shabbat, they confirm the covenant at Sinai.


Shabbat is presented here as a sign, because, with the introduction of the Mishkan (Shemot 25:1ff), HaShem's Presence will become manifest among the people. Shabbat is the weekly sign of that constant Presence. Unlike the physical Mishkan, the existence of which has not always been assured in our history, Shabbat is an eternal (for your generations) focal point and sign of our ongoing encounter with HaShem.


Another sign of the Sinai covenant, is recited in the Shema, twice a day by observant Jews. The command of tefillin and mezzuzah are signs of the Sinai covenant.


Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Hear, O Israel: HaShem our God, HaShem is one. Love HaShem your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads (tefillin). Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates (mezzuzah).


These signs of tefillin and mezzuzah were important enough that HaShem reiterated them. To fulfill this command, pious Jews will lay tefillin six days a week, during the morning prayer service (shacharit). We do not lay tefillin on Shabbat because Shabbat is a sign and we do need two covenantal signs.


Deuteronomy 11:16-20 Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. Then  HaShem’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land HaShem is giving you. Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.


Tefillin were to be a constant reminder of the Exodus. The hand Tefillin are to be a "sign for you", indicating a sign for you to see and which will remind us; and the head Tefillin are to be a remembrance (zikkaron), a commemoration for you to remember that HaShem took us out. This wording is nearly identical to the two terms used to describe the blood on the doors (ot lakhem), Shemot 12:12ff, and the celebration of that day (zikkaron).


Not only were mezzuzot to be signs on our doorposts, but blood was once used on the doorposts as a sign. We will see that the blood on the doorposts of the houses in Egypt were a sign to the HaShem to pass over that house.


Exodus 12:12-13 "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn--both men and animals--and I will bring judgment on all the G-ds of Egypt. I am HaShem. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.


In addition to the blood on the doorposts, the celebration of Pesach (Passover), itself, was to be a sign. Who sees a Pesach seder? Clearly all the participants at that seder. Any others to witness the seder would be accidental.


Exodus 13:4-10 Today, in the month of Abib, you are leaving. When HaShem brings you into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites and Jebusites--the land he swore to your forefathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey--you are to observe this ceremony in this month: For seven days eat bread made without yeast and on the seventh day hold a festival to HaShem. Eat unleavened bread during those seven days; nothing with yeast in it is to be seen among you, nor shall any yeast be seen anywhere within your borders. On that day tell your son, 'I do this because of what HaShem did for me when I came out of Egypt.' This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that the law of HaShem is to be on your lips. For HaShem brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand. You must keep this ordinance at the appointed time year after year.


Pesach was a sign for the Jews. More than that, the Pesach seder is a rehearsal for our redemption. It is not some stale, meaningless ritual. It is a rehearsal for our redemption!


While the seder spoke to the Jews, the miracles that HaShem did in Egypt were signs for the Egyptians and the Jews. These signs were so important that HaShem is going to repeat them multiple times throughout the Tanach, and He will also cause us to remember them multiple times every day, and multiple times during the year.


Deuteronomy 4:32-35 Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day HaShem created man on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? Has any other people heard the voice of HaShem speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? Has any G-d ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by miraculous signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things HaShem your HaShem did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? You were shown these things so that you might know that HaShem is G-d; besides him there is no other.


Deuteronomy 6:20-23 In the future, when your son asks you, "What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws HaShem our G-d has commanded you?" Tell him: "We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but HaShem brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Before our eyes HaShem sent miraculous signs and wonders--great and terrible--upon Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers.


Deuteronomy 26:8 So HaShem brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with miraculous signs and wonders.


Deuteronomy 11:1-7 Love HaShem your G-d and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always. Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of HaShem your G-d: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm; The signs he performed and the things he did in the heart of Egypt, both to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his whole country; What he did to the Egyptian army, to its horses and chariots, how he overwhelmed them with the waters of the Red Sea as they were pursuing you, and how HaShem brought lasting ruin on them. It was not your children who saw what he did for you in the desert until you arrived at this place, And what he did to Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab the Reubenite, when the earth opened its mouth right in the middle of all Israel and swallowed them up with their households, their tents and every living thing that belonged to them. But it was your own eyes that saw all these great things HaShem has done.


Exodus 13:15-16 When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, HaShem killed every firstborn in Egypt, both man and animal. This is why I sacrifice to HaShem the first male offspring of every womb and redeem each of my firstborn sons.' And it will be like a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that HaShem brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand."


Deuteronomy 7:17-20 You may say to yourselves, "These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out?" But do not be afraid of them; remember well what HaShem your G-d did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt. You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the miraculous signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which HaShem your G-d brought you out. HaShem your G-d will do the same to all the peoples you now fear. Moreover, HaShem your HaShem will send the hornet among them until even the survivors who hide from you have perished.


Deuteronomy 34:10-12 Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom HaShem knew face to face, Who did all those miraculous signs and wonders HaShem sent him to do in Egypt--to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.


Deuteronomy 29:2-4 Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them: Your eyes have seen all that HaShem did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials and to all his land. With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those miraculous signs and great wonders. But to this day HaShem has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear.


Psalms 78:43 The day he displayed his miraculous signs in Egypt, his wonders in the region of Zoan.


Nehemiah 9:9-11 "You saw the suffering of our forefathers in Egypt; you heard their cry at the Red Sea. You sent miraculous signs and wonders against Pharaoh, against all his officials and all the people of his land, for you knew how arrogantly the Egyptians treated them. You made a name for yourself, which remains to this day. You divided the sea before them, so that they passed through it on dry ground, but you hurled their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters.


Psalm 105:26-28 He sent Moses his servant, and Aaron, whom he had chosen. They performed his miraculous signs among them, his wonders in the land of Ham. He sent darkness and made the land dark--for had they not rebelled against his words?


Psalm 135:9 He sent his signs: and wonders into your midst, O Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants.


Jeremiah 32:20 You performed miraculous signs: and wonders in Egypt and have continued them to this day, both in Israel and among all mankind, and have gained the renown that is still yours. You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror.


So, clearly HaShem intended to send a message to His people and to the Egyptians. We can also see from the context of the above passages, that we are to communicate this sign to our children. Not only that, but we learn from the haggada that each Jew is to see himself as he was redeemed from Egypt. It is not a faded historical event, but rather it is a living memory in each Jew because he was there!


These signs are so important for us to remember! Why you might ask? Let me suggest that the mighty miracles (signs) that HaShem performed for us in Egypt were birth pangs to cause us as a people to be born. Further, these signs are prophetic in that these signs will be used by HaShem when He takes His people out of the lands of the world and plants us in the land of Israel, forever. Get to know these signs! Memorise them and constantly recall them. You will see them again!


The miraculous signs were designed to convince the Egyptians to let the Jews go, and they were designed to teach the Jews that HaShem delivered them. As the Children of Israel left Egypt, amid the great miraculous signs, they went out in miliatary formation with each tribe marching under the banner of his tribe. These banners were also signs. The banners not only identify the tribe, but they also prophesy as to the mission of each tribe.


Numbers 2:1-2 HaShem said to Moses and Aaron: "The Israelites are to camp around the Tent of Meeting some distance from it, each man under his standard with the banners of his family."


I have posted pictures of each of these banners, these signs, in my study titled: Tribes. Just as a matter of interest, the camping order of the tribes was same order that the Jacob’s sons assumed when they carried Jacobs coffin. This suggests that the order itself was prophetic.


During the journey to the Promised Land, the Children of Israel had a period where some rebelled against the authority of Moses. These rebels had confronted Moses and suggested that they were holy just like Aaron and his sons were holy. They insisted that they be priests. To let them know the will of HaShem, in a clear and unambiguous way, they were to take incense and offer it to HaShem. The one whose incense was accepted, was to be the priest. HaShem chose Aaron and his sons. The incense censors were to remain as a sign.


Numbers 16:35-40 And fire came out from HaShem and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense. HaShem said to Moses, "Tell Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, to take the censers out of the smoldering remains and scatter the coals some distance away, for the censers are holy-- The censers of the men who sinned at the cost of their lives. Hammer the censers into sheets to overlay the altar, for they were presented before HaShem and have become holy. Let them be a sign to the Israelites." So Eleazar the priest collected the bronze censers brought by those who had been burned up, and he had them hammered out to overlay the altar, As HaShem directed him through Moses. This was to remind the Israelites that no one except a descendant of Aaron should come to burn incense before HaShem, or he would become like Korah and his followers.


After HaShem opened the earth and swallowed Qorach (Korah) and his followers, HaShem made their censors into a sign by making them a part of the altar. As part of their testing, Qorach and his followers put their staffs before HaShem. HaShem Chose Aaron by having his staff bud and bear almonds. This miraclous staff was then kept as a sign. This sign testified against Qorach and his followers, and it testified as to HaShem’s choice for priests.


Numbers 17:10 HaShem said to Moses, "Put back Aaron's staff in front of the Testimony, to be kept as a sign to the rebellious. This will put an end to their grumbling against me, so that they will not die."


HaShem commanded Moses and Aaron to perform many miraculous sign before Pharaoh. Moses was the redeemer of of the Children of Israel. Moses led the Children of Israel out of Egypt in order to worship HaShem on Sinai.


In this same vein, if another prophet should arise, like Moses, who will do miraculous signs, but he will lead you to worship other gods, then we need to reject him. A sign, a miracle, is not proof that a false god should be chosen over HaShem.


Deuteronomy 13:1-3 If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, And if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, "Let us follow other G-ds" (G-ds you have not known) "and let us worship them," You must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. HaShem your G-d is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.


We must worship only HaShem. To worship anyone, or anything, else, is to worship a false god. We do not worship Yeshua! We worship only HaShem, as we have studied in the paper titled: Yeshua. In that paper we examined how the English words can sometimes be a bit misleading, yet the truth is clear in the original language. Yeshua did miracles, but He did not lead us to worship himself or any other false god. He led us to worship HaShem only!


If we depart from HaShem to worship false gods, then HaShem will give us another sign to declare that we have left the path. These signs are terrible curses with manifold manifestations.


Deuteronomy 28:45-47 All these curses will come upon you. They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey HaShem your G-d and observe the commands and decrees he gave you. They will be a sign and a wonder to you and your descendants forever. Because you did not serve HaShem your HaShem joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity,


The above passage tells us that we are not only to worship HaShem alone, but to do it joyfully and gladly. Remember, do not worship Yeshua (Yeshua) or any other person or thing. We must worship HaShem alone!


In this next sign, Rahab seeks a sign that the Bne Israel will not hurt her or her family. This story, of the salvation of Rahab and her family, is indicative of the way that HaShem always works salvation. When HaShem saves (note that HaShem saves, Yeshua does not save[12]), He saves a person and their entire household. Salvation is never an individual experience as we learned in our study titled: Househld.


Now we know that this sign was not just for Rahab. This sign was for Rahab and others later on. There is nothing in scripture that does not have historical ramifications.


Joshua 2:12-14 Now then, please swear to me by HaShem that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign That you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death." "Our lives for your lives!" the men assured her. "If you don't tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when HaShem gives us the land."


The spies sent out by Joshua provided a sign for Rahab, their word. I pray that my words could also be used for signs because of their surety.


Joshua also commanded the Bne Israel to gather stones from the Jordan river as a sign. These stones were to serve as a sign to future generations that HaShem stopped the Jordan river to enable the Bne Israel to cross.


Joshua 4:4-7 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, And said to them, "Go over before the ark of HaShem your G-d into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, To serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean?' Tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of HaShem. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever."


Why did HaShem use stones for a sign? This looks like an interesting question for another study. J


In this next passage we have an example of household salvation coupled with the desire to serve HaShem alone.


Joshua 24:15-18 But if serving HaShem seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the G-ds your forefathers served beyond the River, or the G-ds of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve HaShem." Then the people answered, "Far be it from us to forsake HaShem to serve other gods! It was HaShem our G-d himself who brought us and our fathers up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. And HaShem drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve HaShem, because he is our G-d."


After Joshua led the Bne Israel into the promised land, HaShem sent mighty men as judges to lead Israel to battle and to perform the victories of HaShem. These were men who really wanted to serve, but were afraid of being misled. They looked to HaShem for proof that He was commanding them, and not some other entity.


The sign that Gideon requested, was for HaShem to tarry while he prepared an offering. Imagine asking the Creator of the universe to wait for a man. This was indeed a sign.


Judges 6:16-18 HaShem answered, "I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together." Gideon replied, "If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you." And HaShem said, "I will wait until you return."


HaShem gave the priesthood to Aaron and to his descendants. We saw how HaShem dealt with those who tried to usurp this perogative, when we studied about the incident of Korah. In this next passage we are going to see how HaShem deals with those descendants of Aaron who are unfaithful. The sign given to Eli the priest was the kind of sign that none of us want to see. This is the sign given to those who do not discipline their children.


I Samuel 2:30-35 "Therefore HaShem, the G-d of Israel, declares: 'I promised that your house and your father's house would minister before me forever.' But now HaShem declares: 'Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained. The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your father's house, so that there will not be an old man in your family line And you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, in your family line there will never be an old man. Every one of you that I do not cut off from my altar will be spared only to blind your eyes with tears and to grieve your heart, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life. "'And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you--they will both die on the same day. I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his house, and he will minister before my anointed one always.


In the above passage, the priests will minister before the Mashiach! This is amazing. It suggests that the Mashiach is representing HaShem. This should not be too surprising considering that all of the kings of Israel represent HaShem.


In the following passage, Saul, who is soon to be the first king of Israel, is given a sign from HaShem regarding his father’s missing donkeys. What was the purpose of this sign? Does HaShem care about donkeys? Clearly the purpose of the sign is to draw Saul to HaShem, to give him the courage to cleave to HaShem when he became king.


I Samuel 10:6-9 The Spirit of HaShem will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for HaShem is with you. "Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do." As Saul turned to leave Samuel, HaShem changed Saul's heart, and all these signs: were fulfilled that day.


Saul’s son, Jonathan, was also given a sign to encourage him to provide cover for a mighty miracle from HaShem. This sign was only given when Jonathan and his armor bearer were only feet from the Philistines, whom they intended to attack. Two courageous men against the entire Philistine garrison. As they climbed the final feet of the cliff, they asked HaShem for a sign. What they asked for, was the response that most of us would have expected. How can the expected response be a sign?


I Samuel 14:8-12 Jonathan said, "Come, then; we will cross over toward the men and let them see us. If they say to us, 'Wait there until we come to you,' we will stay where we are and not go up to them. But if they say, 'Come up to us,' we will climb up, because that will be our sign that HaShem has given them into our hands." So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. "Look!" said the Philistines. "The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in." The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, "Come up to us and we'll teach you a lesson." So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, "Climb up after me; HaShem has given them into the hand of Israel."


Clearly, Jonathan was looking for HaShem’s approval. If they had been told not to come up, then they could have returned unharmed. So, clearly they got the expected answer, and HaShem’s approval.


Another king who represented HaShem was king Hezekiah. In this next passage, king Hezekiah receives a sign portending the defeat of the Assyrian army; an army that Israel will not have to fight.


II Kings 19:29 "This will be the sign for you, O Hezekiah: "This year you will eat what grows by itself, and the second year what springs from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit.


Isaiah 37:30-31 "This will be the sign for you, O Hezekiah: "This year you will eat what grows by itself, and the second year what springs from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit. Once more a remnant of the house of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above.


As an aside, the spiritual level of Israel had declined to such a low state, in the days of king Hezekiah, that they could no longer fight the wars of HaShem. All they could do is pray and let HaShem fight the battle. Fourteen generations earlier, king David and Israel were so well connected to HaShem that they could go to battle, and fight the battles of HaShem.


Lest you gloat that you are more spiritual then Hezekiah, and your connection to HaShem is better than Israel’s, you should know that if king Hezekiah should walk into your house, he would fry you with the intensity of his spiritual connection. After all, he lived in the days when there was still prophecy in the world.


So great was king Hezekiah’s faith, that he asked HaShem for a sign concerning his healing, and HaShem made the sun go backward for him. How many times has that happened?


II Kings 20:7-9 Then Isaiah said, "Prepare a poultice of figs." They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered. Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, "What will be the sign that HaShem will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of HaShem on the third day from now?" Isaiah answered, "This is  HaShem’s sign to you that HaShem will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?"


Isaiah 38:5-8 "Go and tell Hezekiah, 'This is what HaShem, the G-d of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city. "'This is  HaShem’s sign to you that HaShem will do what he has promised: I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.'" So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down.


Isaiah 38:21-22 Isaiah had said, "Prepare a poultice of figs and apply it to the boil, and he will recover." Hezekiah had asked, "What will be the sign that I will go up to the temple of HaShem?"


In this case, HaShem used the sun for sign to king Hezekiah. This harkens back to the first use of our word sign, as we found in Bereshit 1:14, when HaShem explicitly said that the purpose of the celestial bodies is as a means of communicating signs and seasons.


In this next passage, HaShem is providing a messianic sign for king Ahaz.


Isaiah 7:11-14 "Ask HaShem your G-d for a sign:, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights." But Ahaz said, "I will not ask; I will not put HaShem to the test." Then Isaiah said, "Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my HaShem also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.


What is interesting about this sign is that it demonstrates the nature of signs that are recorded in the Tanach. These signs are for those who see them. Thus we must conclude that this messianic sign was given to king Ahaz, and was for him. As with most prphetic signs, however, this one had an immediate fulfillment and a later fulfillment. An in both case, the sign was for those who saw it.


We see that this same prophecy was assigned to Yeshua in:


Matitiyahu (Matthew) 1:23  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.


Thus we understand that Isaiah 7:11ff was a messianic prophecy and had two fulfillments. One in the days of king Ahaz, and the same fulfillment some five hundred years later. From this we understand that the word virgin is a mistranslation of the Hebrew word almah. This word is normally translated as “young woman”. So, either a virgin birth happened as a sign to king Ahaz and to Mary and Joseph, or else we have a young woman bearing a child. Since almah means “young woman”, our rabbinic scholars tell us that there was no virgin birth. That the sign given to King Ahaz was the same sign given to Mary and Joseph. And both protagonists witnessed young women bearing a child.


It is important that Mashiach NOT be born of a virgin. If he had been born of a virgin, then according to Torah he could NOT be Mashiach. The Torah tells us that Mashiach must be a blood descendant of king David, through His father! A virgin birth means no human father. No human father means that He can not be Mashiach according to the Torah. Fortunately, Yeshua’s father’s genealogy is well documented in the Nazarean Codicil. He is a descendant of king David through His father, Joseph.


As Mashiach’s birth was to be a sign, so too is Israel a sign. After all, Mashiach is the head of the body called Israel. In this next passage we see Israel as a sign.


Isaiah 8:16-19 Bind up the testimony and seal up the law among my disciples. I will wait for HaShem, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust in him. Here am I, and the children HaShem has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from HaShem Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion. When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their G-d? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?


If Israel is a sign, who sees this sign? The ones who see must be the Gentiles. There are only two groups: The sign and those who see the sign. Clearly Israel was set as a sign in order that the Gentiles would learn about HaShem and serve Him alone.


In this next passage, HaShem puts a monument at the border of Egypt as a sign.


Isaiah 19:19-21 In that day there will be an altar to HaShem in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to HaShem at its border. It will be a sign and witness to HaShem Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to HaShem because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. So HaShem will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge HaShem. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to HaShem and keep them.

To understand this sign, we need to first understand the meaning of Egypt. The Hebrew word, Mitzrayim, means a constricted place. What is this monument? The Hebrew word for border sounds like giza. Today, there is only one Giza and there is only one monument there:  The great pyramid. Some have even suggested that the great pyramid was built by Shem, son of Noach.


In this next passage, Isaiah is to become a sign that wil prophesy about what will happen to Egypt.


Isaiah 20:2-4 At that time HaShem spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, "Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet." And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot. Then HaShem said, "Just as my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years, as a sign: and portent against Egypt and Cush, So the king of Assyria will lead away stripped and barefoot the Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles, young and old, with buttocks bared--to Egypt's shame.


Why is Isaiah a sign to Egypt? While there are probably many answers, I lean towards an understanding that Egypt is a picture of the whole world, excluding Israel. As with the previous signs, I believe that this sign had a fulfillment in Isaiah’s day, and it will have a second fulfillment in the end of days.


The end of days leads to the messianic age. This next sign pertains to the messianic age.


Isaiah 55:9-13 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for HaShem’s renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed."


This messianic bliss does not come without the birth pangs. The time of the birth pangs are a time to sort out those who serve HaShem and His Torah, and those who do not. In this next passage, the issue of what we eat is a defining thing. If we eat the wrong things, then we can expect to meet the end that severs our connection with HaShem.


Isaiah 66:17-21 "Those who consecrate and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following the one in the midst of those who eat the flesh of pigs and rats and other abominable things--they will meet their end together," declares HaShem. "And I, because of their actions and their imaginations, am about to come and gather all nations and tongues, and they will come and see my glory. "I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations--to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations. And they will bring all your brothers, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to HaShem--on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels," says HaShem. "They will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of HaShem in ceremonially clean vessels. And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites," says HaShem.


The original sin of Adam and Eve was the eating of non-kosher food. In the end, kosher food seems to define those who follow HaShem and those who do not. Do you eat swine flesh? What will be the end of those who eat swine flesh?


This sorting out process, those who eat kosher food and those who do not, will be brought on by many celestial signs. In this next passage, HaShem gives His people an explicit command to follow His ways and not the ways of the world.


Jeremiah 10:1-3 Hear what HaShem says to you, O house of Israel. This is what HaShem says: "Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them. For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.


Many see the Christmas tree in the above passage. What ever it is, it is certainally not a good thing. It is used an example, along with signs in the sky, as that which defines those who rebel against HaShem. Do you celebrate Christmas? Do you have a Christmas tree? If you do, be prepared to be dismayed by signs in the sky. Be prepared to be found as a rebel against HaShem.


Rebels, even those of Israel, are going to be judged. In this next passage, HaShem speaks of the ways that He will punish the rebels. He speaks of these punishments as signs.


Yeremiyahu (Jeremiah) 44:26-29 But hear the word of HaShem, all Jews living in Egypt: 'I swear by my great name,' says HaShem, 'that no one from Judah living anywhere in Egypt will ever again invoke my name or swear, "As surely as the Sovereign HaShem lives." For I am watching over them for harm, not for good; the Jews in Egypt will perish by sword and famine until they are all destroyed. Those who escape the sword and return to the land of Judah from Egypt will be very few. Then the whole remnant of Judah who came to live in Egypt will know whose word will stand--mine or theirs. "'This will be the sign to you that I will punish you in this place,' declares HaShem, 'so that you will know that my threats of harm against you will surely stand.'


Jeremiah’s picture of the punishments which will be visited upon Israel are a warning, a sign. But, HaShem always warns His people before they are punished. In this next passage we see HaShem preparing His warning to His people.


Ezekiel 4:1-4 "Now, son of man, take a clay tablet, put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. Then lay siege to it: Erect siege works against it, build a ramp up to it, set up camps against it and put battering rams around it. Then take an iron pan, place it as an iron wall between you and the city and turn your face toward it. It will be under siege, and you shall besiege it. This will be a sign to the house of Israel. "Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the house of Israel upon yourself. You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side.


Ezekiel bore in his body a graphic warning to Israel of the punishments that would be visited upon those who rejected His word. In this next passage, HaShem continues His warnings to those who rebel against His Torah.


Ezekiel 14:7-8 "'When any Israelite or any alien living in Israel separates himself from me and sets up idols in his heart and puts a wicked stumbling block before his face and then goes to a prophet to inquire of me, I HaShem will answer him myself. I will set my face against that man and make him an example and a byword. I will cut him off from my people. Then you will know that I am HaShem.


* * *


Reference in the Nazarean Codicil to the word "signs" as first found in Genesis 1:14. I am going to use two different ways to determine the correct Greek word that links to the Hebrew: First I am going to look for a reference to "signs" in the sun moon and stars, and secondly I am going to look for references to "signs" in Egypt since that constituted the majority of the references in the Tanach.


Luke 21:25 "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.


Acts 7:36 He led them out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert.


Both of the above verses reference the same Greek word for "signs":


4592 semeion, say-mi'-on; neut. of a presumed der. of the base of 4591; an indication, espec. cer. or supernat.:-miracle, sign, token, wonder.


---------------- Dictionary Trace -----------------

4591 semaino, say-mah'-ee-no; from sema (a mark; of uncert. der.); to indicate:-signify.


We can also look at the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Tanach (Old Testament) to find our word in Genesis 1:14. The Septuagint confirms our earlier guess. The Septuagint shows our word to be:



Now that I know the correct Greek word to use, I will find all references to this Greek word in the Nazarean Codicil:


Matthew 12:38-40 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, "Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you." He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.


Matthew 16:1-4 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Yeshua and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, "When evening comes, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,' And in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Yeshua then left them and went away.


Matthew 24:3 As Yeshua was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"


Matthew 24:23-31 At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Mashiach!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. "So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. "Immediately after the distress of those days 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.


Matthew 26:47-49 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: "The one I kiss is the man; arrest him." Going at once to Yeshua, Judas said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed him.


Mark 8:11-12 The Pharisees came and began to question Yeshua. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply and said, "Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it."


Mark 13:3 As Yeshua was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, "Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?"


Mark 13:21-23 At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Mashiach!' or, 'Look, there he is!' do not believe it. For false Mashiachs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect--if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.


Mark 16:14-20 Later Yeshua appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; They will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well." After the Lord Yeshua had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of HaShem. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.


Luke 2:8-12 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Mashiach the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."


Luke 2:28-35 Simeon took him in his arms and praised HaShem, saying: "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, Which you have prepared in the sight of all people, A light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, So that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."


Luke 11:14-17 Yeshua was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. But some of them said, "By Beelzebub, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons." Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven. Yeshua knew their thoughts and said to them: "Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.


Luke 11:29-30 As the crowds increased, Yeshua said, "This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.


Luke 21:5-13 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to HaShem. But Yeshua said, "As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down." "Teacher," they asked, "when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?" He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away." Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. "But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them.


Luke 21:25-27 "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.


Luke 23:8-10 When Herod saw Yeshua, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. He plied him with many questions, but Yeshua gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him.


John 2:7-11 Yeshua said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet." They did so, And the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside And said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now." This, the first of his miraculous signs, Yeshua performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.


John 2:18-19 Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?" Yeshua answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."


John 2:23-25 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. But Yeshua would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.


John 3:1-2 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Yeshua at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from HaShem. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if HaShem were not with him."


John 4:46-54 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Yeshua had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. "Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders," Yeshua told him, "you will never believe." The royal official said, "Sir, come down before my child dies." Yeshua replied, "You may go. Your son will live." The man took Yeshua at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, "The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour." Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Yeshua had said to him, "Your son will live." So he and all his household believed. This was the second miraculous sign that Yeshua performed, having come from Judea to Galilee.


John 6:1-3 Some time after this, Yeshua crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), And a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. Then Yeshua went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples.


John 6:11-15 Yeshua then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. After the people saw the miraculous sign that Yeshua did, they began to say, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world." Yeshua, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.


John 6:24-33 Once the crowd realized that neither Yeshua nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Yeshua. When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?" Yeshua answered, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him HaShem the Father has placed his seal of approval." Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works HaShem requires?" Yeshua answered, "The work of HaShem is this: to believe in the one he has sent." So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" Yeshua said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of HaShem is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."


John 7:28-32 Then Yeshua, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, "Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, But I know him because I am from him and he sent me." At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come. Still, many in the crowd put their faith in him. They said, "When the Mashiach comes, will he do more miraculous signs than this man?" The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him.


John 9:14-16 Now the day on which Yeshua had made the mud and opened the man's eyes was a Sabbath. Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. "He put mud on my eyes," the man replied, "and I washed, and now I see." Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from HaShem, for he does not keep the Sabbath." But others asked, "How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?" So they were divided.


John 10:40-42 Then Yeshua went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. Here he stayed And many people came to him. They said, "Though John never performed a miraculous sign, all that John said about this man was true." And in that place many believed in Yeshua.


John 11:43-48 When he had said this, Yeshua called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Yeshua said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go." Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Yeshua did, put their faith in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Yeshua had done. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. "What are we accomplishing?" they asked. "Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."


John 12:17-18 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him.


John 12:37-38 Even after Yeshua had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: "Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"


John 20:30 Yeshua did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.


Acts 2:17-22 "'In the last days, HaShem says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' "Men of Israel, listen to this: Yeshua of Nazareth was a man accredited by HaShem to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which HaShem did among you through him, as you yourselves know.


Acts 2:42-44 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common.


Acts 4:13-22 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Yeshua. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. "What are we going to do with these men?" they asked. "Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name." Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Yeshua. But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in HaShem's sight to obey you rather than HaShem. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising HaShem for what had happened. For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.


Acts 4:23-30 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to HaShem. "Sovereign Lord," they said, "you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: "'Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.' Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Yeshua, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Yeshua."


Acts 5:12 The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon's Colonnade.


Acts 6:8 Now Stephen, a man full of HaShem's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.


Acts 7:35-36 "This is the same Moses whom they had rejected with the words, 'Who made you ruler and judge?' He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by HaShem himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. He led them out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert.


Acts 8:5-8 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Mashiach there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. So there was great joy in that city.


Acts 8:13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.


Acts 14:1-3 At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed. But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders.


Acts 15:12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders HaShem had done among the Gentiles through them.


Romans 15:17-19 Therefore I glory in Mashiach Yeshua in my service to HaShem. I will not venture to speak of anything except what Mashiach has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey HaShem by what I have said and done-- By the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Mashiach.


I Corinthians 1:20-24 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not HaShem made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of HaShem the world through its wisdom did not know him, HaShem was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, But we preach Mashiach crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, But to those whom HaShem has called, both Jews and Greeks, Mashiach the power of HaShem and the wisdom of HaShem.


I Corinthians 14:22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers.


II Corinthians 12:11-13 I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the "super-apostles," even though I am nothing. The things that mark an apostle--signs, wonders and miracles--were done among you with great perseverance. How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!


II Thessalonians 2:9-11 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, And in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason HaShem sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie


II Thessalonians 3:17 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write.


Hebrews 2:1-4 We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. HaShem also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.


Revelation 12:1-6 A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to HaShem and to his throne. The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by HaShem, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.


Revelation 13:11-14 Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived.


Revelation 15:1 I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues--last, because with them HaShem's wrath is completed.


Revelation 16:13-14 Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of The LORD Almighty.


Revelation 19:19-20 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.


* * *


References in the Tanach:


Genesis 1:14

Genesis 4:15

Genesis 9:12

Genesis 9:13

Genesis 9:17

Genesis 17:11


Exodus 3:12

Exodus 4:8

Exodus 4:9

Exodus 4:17

Exodus 4:28

Exodus 4:30

Exodus 7:3

Exodus 8:23

Exodus 10:1

Exodus 10:2

Exodus 12:13

Exodus 13:9

Exodus 13:16

Exodus 31:13

Exodus 31:17


Numbers 2:2

Numbers 14:11

Numbers 14:22

Numbers 16:38

Numbers 17:10


Deuteronomy 4:34

Deuteronomy 6:8

Deuteronomy 6:22

Deuteronomy 7:19

Deuteronomy 11:3

Deuteronomy 11:18

Deuteronomy 13:1

Deuteronomy 13:2

Deuteronomy 22:15

Deuteronomy 22:17

Deuteronomy 22:20

Deuteronomy 26:8

Deuteronomy 28:46

Deuteronomy 29:3

Deuteronomy 34:11


Joshua 2:12

Joshua 4:6

Joshua 24:17


Judges 6:17


1 Samuel 2:34

1 Samuel 10:7

1 Samuel 10:9

1 Samuel 14:10


2 Kings 19:29

2 Kings 20:8

2 Kings 20:9


Nehemiah 9:10


Job 21:29


Psalm 65:8

Psalm 74:4

Psalm 74:9

Psalm 78:43

Psalm 86:17

Psalm 105:27

Psalm 135:9


Isaiah 7:11

Isaiah 7:14

Isaiah 8:18

Isaiah 19:20

Isaiah 20:3

Isaiah 37:30

Isaiah 38:7

Isaiah 38:22

Isaiah 44:25

Isaiah 55:13

Isaiah 66:19


Jeremiah 10:2

Jeremiah 32:20

Jeremiah 32:21

Jeremiah 44:29


Ezekiel 4:3

Ezekiel 14:8

Ezekiel 20:12

Ezekiel 20:20


* * *


Matthew 12:38

Matthew 12:39

Matthew 16:1

Matthew 16:3

Matthew 16:4

Matthew 24:3

Matthew 24:24

Matthew 24:30

Matthew 26:48


Mark 8:11

Mark 8:12

Mark 13:4

Mark 13:22

Mark 16:17

Mark 16:20


Luke 2:12

Luke 2:34

Luke 11:16

Luke 11:29

Luke 11:30

Luke 21:7

Luke 21:11

Luke 21:25

Luke 23:8


John 2:11

John 2:18

John 2:23

John 3:2

John 4:48

John 4:54

John 6:2

John 6:14

John 6:26

John 6:30

John 7:31

John 9:16

John 10:41

John 11:47

John 12:18

John 12:37

John 20:30


Acts 2:19

Acts 2:22

Acts 2:43

Acts 4:16

Acts 4:22

Acts 4:30

Acts 5:12

Acts 6:8

Acts 7:36

Acts 8:6

Acts 8:13

Acts 14:3

Acts 15:12


Romans 4:11

Romans 15:19


1 Corinthians 1:22

1 Corinthians 14:22


2 Corinthians 12:12


2 Thessalonians 2:9

2 Thessalonians 3:17


Hebrews 2:4


Revelation 12:1

Revelation 12:3

Revelation 13:13

Revelation 13:14

Revelation 15:1

Revelation 16:14

Revelation 19:20



* * *



Genesis                       6 references

Exodus                        15 references

Numbers                     5 references

Deuteronomy              15 references

Joshua                                     3 references

Judges                                     1 reference

1 Samuel                     4 references

2 Kings                       3 references

Nehemiah                   1 reference

Job                              1 reference

Psalms                        7 references

Isaiah                          11 references

Jeremiah                     4 references

Ezekiel                        4 references



Matthew                      9 references

Mark                           6 references

Luke                            9 references

John                            17 references

Acts                             13 references

Romans                       2 references

1 Corinthians              2 references

2 Corinthians              1 reference

2 Thessalonians          2 references

Hebrews                      1 reference

Revelation                  7 references


* * *


Talmudic Signs


Berachoth 59b Our Rabbis taught:* He who sees the sun at its turning point,[13] the moon in its power,[14] the planets in their orbits,[15] and the signs of the zodiac in their orderly progress,[16] should say: Blessed be He who has wrought the work of creation. And when [does this happen]?[17] — Abaye said: Every twenty-eight years when the cycle[18] begins again and the Nisan [Spring] equinox falls in Saturn on the evening of Tuesday,[19] going into Wednesday.


Shabbath 156a It was stated. R. Hanina said: The planetary influence gives wisdom, the planetary influence gives wealth, and Israel stands under planetary influence. R. Johanan maintained: Israel is immune from planetary influence.[20] Now, R. Johanan is consistent with his view, for R. Johanan said: How do we know that Israel is immune from planetary influence? Because it is said, Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the nations, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the nations are dismayed at them:[21] they are dismayed but not Israel.[22] Rab too holds that Israel is immune from planetary influence. For Rab Judah said in Rab's name: How do we know that Israel is immune from planetary influence? Because it is said, and he brought him forth from abroad.[23] Abraham pleaded before the Holy One, blessed be He, ‘Sovereign of the Universe! one born in mine house is mine heir.’ ‘Not so,’ He replied, ‘but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels.’ ‘Sovereign of the Universe!’ cried he, ‘I have looked at my constellation and find that I am not fated to beget child.’ ‘Go forth from [i.e., cease] thy planet [gazing], for Israel is free from planetary influence. What is thy calculation?


Sukkah 29a Our Rabbis taught,[24] When the sun is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for the whole world. This may be illustrated by a parable. To what can this be compared? To a human being who made a banquet for his servants and put up for them a lamp. When he became wroth with them he said to his servant, ‘Take away the lamp from them, and let them sit in the dark’.


Our Rabbis taught, When the sun is in eclipse it is a bad omen for idolaters; when the moon is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for Israel,[25] since Israel reckons by the moon[26] and idolaters by the sun.[27] If it[28] is in eclipse in the east, it is a bad omen for those who dwell in the east; if in the west, it is a bad omen for those who dwell in the west; if in the midst of heaven it is bad omen for the whole world. If its face is red as blood, [it is a sign that] the sword is coming to the world; if it is like sack-cloth,[29] the arrows of famine are coming to the world; if it resembles both, the sword and the arrows of famine are coming to the world. If the eclipse is at sunset[30] calamity will tarry in its coming; if at dawn, it hastens on its way: but some say the order is to be reversed. And there is no nation which is smitten that its G-ds are not smitten together with it, as it is said, And against all the G-ds of Egypt I will execute judgments.[31] But when Israel fulfil the will of the Omnipresent, they need have no fear of all these [omens] as it is said, Thus saith the Lord, ‘Learn not the way of the nations, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the nations are dismayed at them,[32] the idolaters will be dismayed, but Israel will not be dismayed.


Our Rabbis taught, On account of four things is the sun in eclipse: On account of an Ab Beth din[33] who died and was not mourned[34] fittingly; on account of a betrothed maiden who cried out aloud in the city and there was none to save her;[35] on account of sodomy, and on account of two brothers whose blood was shed at the same time. And on account of four things are the luminaries[36] in eclipse: On account of those who perpetrate forgeries, on account of those who give false witness; on account of those who rear small cattle in the land of Israel;[37] and on account of those who cut down good trees.[38]




This study was written by

Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David

(Greg Killian).

Comments may be submitted to:


Rabbi Dr. Greg Killian

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[1] TaNaK is an acronym for Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim, which are translated as the Law, the prophets, and the Writings. This is how Yeshua refered to the Old Testament.

[2] The Jewish year is lunar, and the actual fixing of the months and the years depends on the moon, though a month is intercalated in leap years in order to harmonise the lunar with the solar years.

[3] The townlet of Temarta in Judea; Hul. 62a.

[4] Justa is an abbreviation of Justus or Justinus; Habra may either be part of the name or mean a haber, an associate, one of a body who were particularly scrupulous in their observance of the laws of tithes and purity

[5] This is based on the tradition that the Nisan (the first month of the Jewish year) in which the Exodus took place fell on a Thursday, while the actual New Moon occurred after midday on the preceding Wednesday; it is further assumed that when this happens the moon is not visible until the second evening following, i.e. the evening of Friday. Hence if we counted time solely from when the New Moon is visible, then by the Thursday on which they left, a fortnight after, there would only have been thirteen sunsets. Since, however, it is called the fifteenth of the month, we see that the month was calculated from the first sunset after the New Moon

[6] The reference is possibly to the eclipse of the sun and the moon (commentaries).

[7] cf. Ex. XXXl, 17, where the Sabbath is called a sign.

[8] I.e. the proclamation of the New Year by the proper authorities.

[9] World refers to Gentiles. Whenever the use of world is used to refer to people, the people are Gentiles.

[10] The Artscroll Tanach series, 'Bereishis', by Mesorah publications.

[11] Book of Jasher. Referred to in Joshua and second Samuel, Published by J.H. Parry & Company 1887

[12] See Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 43:11.

[13] In its apparent motion in the ecliptic, the sun has four ‘turning points’ which mark the beginnings of the four respective seasons. These points are generically referred to as the tekufoth (sing. tekufah). They are: the two equinoctial points when the sun crosses the equator at the beginning of spring and autumn respectively, and ‘turns’ from one side of the equator to the other; and the two solstices, when the sun is at its maximum distance, or declination, from the equator, at one or other side of it, at the beginning (*) Note 6 and the notes on the following page are based on material supplied by the late Dr. W. M. Feldman, M.D., B.S., F.R.C.P., F.R.A.S., F.R.S. (Edin.), shortly before his death on July 1st, 1939. of summer and winter respectively, and instead of progressively increasing its declination it ‘turns’ to decrease it progressively. (It may be mentioned that the term ‘tekufah’ is also used not only for the beginning of a season but for the whole of the season itself.)

[14] As the sun and moon were created to rule the day and night respectively (Gen. I, 16), they are necessarily endowed with the attribute of power (cf. Sabbath Liturgy ovc i,b vrucdu jf ). In this passage, however, ‘the moon in its power’ may have a special significance, because at the Nisan, or spring equinox, the spring tides are greatest, owing to the combined action of the sun and the moon in conjunction, or new moon. The moon in its power to cause tides (a fact known to Pliny and Aristotle, and referred to by Maimonides (Guide II, 10), although never directly mentioned in the Talmud), is therefore best seen at this time.

[15] The orbits of the planets which are now known to be ellipses, were, on the Ptolemaic system, which prevailed at that time, assumed to be traced out by a most ingenious combination of eccentric circles and epicycles, (v. for instance, the epicyclic theory of the moon in Feldman W.M., Rabbinical Mathematics and Astronomy, London, 1931, pp. 132ff). Hence the contemplation of the planets in their orbits was an adequate reason for pronouncing the blessing.

[16] The vernal or autumnal equinox is not a fixed point in relation to the signs of the zodiac, but keeps on changing its position to the extent of 50.1". (50.1 seconds of arc) per year. This movement which is called ‘precession of the equinoxes’ is due to the continual shifting of the point of intersection of the ecliptic with the equator, but was believed by the ancients to be due to the progressive movement of the signs of the zodiac. As the result of precession, the equinoctial point which 2,000 years ago was the beginning of the sign Ram (first point of Aries) has since shifted 30¡ to the sign Pisces, although it is still spoken of as the first point of Aries.

[17] The reference is to the sun at its turning point (Rashi).

[18] This means here the Big or Solar Cycle. Taking a Samuel, or Julian, year to consist of 365 1/4 days or 52 weeks 1/4 days, every tekufah occurs 1 1/4 days later in the week every consecutive year, so that after 4 years it occurs at the same time of the day but (1 1/4 X 4 =) 5 days later in the week. After 28, or 4 X 7 years, the tekufah will recur not only at the same time of the day, but also on the same day of the week. V. Feldman, op. cit. p. 199.

[19] As the sun and moon were created on the 4th day, the beginning of the 28 years cycle is always on a Wednesday which begins at the vernal equinox at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. This, according to computation coincides with the rise of Saturn, v. Rashi.

[20] Lit., there is no mazzal (planetary influence) to Israel.

[21] Jer. X, 2.

[22] Israel being uninfluenced by ‘the signs of heaven’.

[23] Gen. XV, 5, q.v.

[24] The following topics are suggested by the previous mention of rain as a bad omen.

[25] The euphemism ‘enemies of Israel’ in the original is used for Israel.

[26] More than any other people. If any evil is to befall the world Israel may be sure to have the lion's share if not all of it.

[27] Sc. by the moon also. The lunar month is one of the foundations of the Jewish calendar.

[28] The sun.

[29] Dark and overcast.

[30] Lit., ‘at its entry’, Sc. to its imaginary home of rest for the night.

[31] Ex. XII, 12.

[32] Jer. X, 2.

[33] The vice-president of the Sanhedrin. The nasi was the President.

[34] With a memorial address.

[35] Cf. Deut. XXII, 24.

[36] The moon and the stars.

[37] Animals that cannot be prevented from ravaging the fields of others, v. B.K. 79b.

[38] Even though they are their own.