Washington or Lincoln?

It is a tie!!

There is an ‘astrological secret’ about these Presidents of the United States.  I looked at the birth chart of the first president, George Washington, (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799).  I found that, while in the traditional zodiac, he is born in the sign of Pisces; however, in the Jewish Lunar Calendar, Washington’s birthday is in Shevat — Aquarius — the sign of friendship and humanitarianism. I then looked at another honored president, Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865); he is an Aquarius by the traditional zodiac — he was born with the Sun located in the sign of Aquarius — and by the Jewish Lunar Calendar, Lincoln, like Washington, was also born in the Jewish calendar month of Shevat Aquarius.

You can imagine my amazement when, upon further research to determine on which day of the lunar month Shevat these great presidents were born, I found that they were both both on the 26th day of Shevat!

Born on 26 Shevat: The first president, George Washington, born on 26 Shevat, fought to free his fellow Americans from tyranny and establish their individual rights and freedom from oppression, the foundation of the new country, the United States of America. The sixteen president, Abraham Lincoln, born on 26 Shevat, continued that theme in his fight to preserve the union of states and abolish slavery so that all Americans may live free from tyranny and oppression.


The Balances – Libra – Mazal Moznaim

     Inner ear and balance. Loop-shaped canals in your inner ear contain fluid and fine, hairlike sensors that help you keep your balance.  — www.mayoclinic.org

What is the connection between ear, balance, and Libra?

In astrology every sign of the zodiac has its symbol — Taurus, the Bull, Leo, the Lion — Libra’s symbol is the Balances and symbolizes the ideal of equality between partners.  Libra, in traditional astrology, signifies relationships in which each person is an equal partner in the relationship.

While Jewish Astrology shares this iconic symbol for Libra, its has other meanings associated with it because Libra is associated with the Jewish lunar month of Tishrei, the seventh month.  Jewish tradition celebrates the first day of the seventh month as Rosh Hashanah, the New Year.   This first day is also called the ‘Day of Judgment’ because the world and all its inhabitants are judged by God – the righteous and just deeds in one balance of the scale and the evil and unjust deeds on the other.  So here in Jewish Astrology we have also another profound significance attached to the iconic symbol of the Balances, the Scales of Justice.  And even the name of the sign in Hebrew, Moznaim, from the verb ‘ee-zeyn’ אזן  – to balance – has the same letters as the noun, ‘o-zen’ אזן‘ear’.   Add to this that, according to Jewish tradition, New Year’s day has one primary act to perform and that act is to hear the sound of the Shofar!

What is Kabbalah?

In all of My sacred mountain, neither evil nor injustice shall be done; For the land shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD as water covers the sea. — Book of Isaiah, 11:9

In our 21st Century, we are experiencing a collective spiritual advancement which occurs in greater and greater measure as each individual human being becomes more and more acquainted with the ‘knowledge of the Lord’. This spiritual knowledge helps us see ourselves and others in a spiritual light. The social consequence of this ‘seeing’ is acceptance of other peoples as being like us, as friends. This acceptance of other peoples ushers in ‘The Age of Aquarius’; in Jewish Kabbalistic Astrology the keyword for Aquarius is, in Hebrew, “ohev’ meaning ‘friend’. (and love is ‘ahava‘).

Levi Krakovsky, author of Kabbalah, the Light of Redemption, wrote: “Kabbalah confirms that the Heavenly Light, when drawn from its supreme source, is the only substance which will unite the world into one loving, harmonious, eternal brotherhood.” — The Omnipotent Light Revealed – Wisdom of the Kabbalah, p. 47

Spiritual intelligence is the ability to see, understand and resolve spiritual problems and challenges with the help of God. To keep spiritual intelligence active is to act in ways that please God — no evil or injustice towards others. Pleasing God, brings one close to God — where evil and injustice cannot enter. Spiritual intelligence cannot be measured by taking a test — rather one’s soul is tested by God in many and diverse ways through which the soul is given opportunities for spiritual advancement; thus, the soul ultimately resembles and therefore is one with God.

Protection from Negative Mazal

We know that the ‘red string’ is an talisman that is effective against the ‘evil eye’.  What is effective against negative mazal (astrological influences)? Can we avoid ‘bad luck‘?  

Since Talmudic times, sages, rabbis, and ordinary Jews have disagreed about astrological influences, about mazal.  Some hold that astrology is all bunk, a pseudo-science, while others hold that, yes, it is true for non-Jews, but has no effect on Jews, and yet others believe that it definitely has effect on Jews and non-Jews alike, with the caveat that keeping the commandments of the (written) Torah is effective for protection against harm caused by negative astrological influences – the 613 commandments for Jews and the 7 commandments for non-Jews, the Children of Noah. For example, a negative astrological influence may cause financial loss, difficulty in friendships, or inner conflicts and confusion — albeit, some ‘negative astrological influences’ are built-in to one’s unique mazal, one’s destiny, and are necessary for each individual’s spiritual unfolding and growth. 

However that may be, most astrologers would agree that ‘negative astrological influences’ may result from, for example, difficult planetary transits such as transiting Saturn conjunct your ascendant or Pluto entering your twelfth house.  While an astrologer can discuss what may result from such difficult transits, wise astrological advice is contingent for its effectiveness on something more  — its success depends on finding favor in God’s eye.

To merit that favor, keeping the Torah’s commandments is necessary.  The problem is that, for many reasons, keeping all the commandments is not possible.  The Jewish sages and prophets understood this and provided remedies.  

Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki (1040 – 1105), universally known by the acronym, “Rashi”, is esteemed for his Torah commentaries.  In the Talmud we find a discussion about how King David, Isaiah, Habakkuk and others came and established the observance of the Torah’s commandments from 613 in number to 11 and then to 2 and even 1. Rashi writes:

Makkot  24a:  and he established them on 11  — At first they were completely righteous (tzadikim) and were able to receive the yoke of many commandments (mitzvot); later generations were not so completely righteous and when they came to observe all of them, no one had the merit to do so.  And David came and established them, etc., so that they may gain merit through fulfilling these 11 commandments.   And so generations are always descending and it (the number of commandments) is further reduced.
Makkot  24a: Isaiah then established the 613 commandments upon two, as it is stated: “So says the Lords: Observe justice and perform righteousness” (Isaiah 56:1).

Habakkuk came and established the 613 commandments upon one as it is stated: “…the righteous shall live by his faith(emunah)”. (Habakkuk 2:4).

We find in the Talmud many roads that lead to the same destination.  Hillel and Shammai were sages whose  rulings on how to observe the Torah commandments were virtually always in disagreement – yet each in their own way fulfilled the spirit of the Torah and so both rulings are considered valid.  Whether we follow King David’s, Isaiah’s, or Habakkuk’s commandment to merit protection from negative mazal,  doing so sincerely is the spiritual ‘red string’ that protects us.


Man’s Search for Meaning

Dr. Victor Frankl
Dr. Victor E. Frankl

Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it. — Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl

Paraphrasing Dr. Frankl, we may say: everyone has his or her own specific mazal or destiny in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment…everyone’s mazal is as unique as is the specific opportunity to implement it.

In Kabbalah, we learn that each individual is born according to their specific mazal (destiny or fate) on the day and hour chosen by God to provide the new born the appropriate opportunities to advance its spiritual development and thus, achieve its life’s fulfillment. 




Jew and Astrologer

Astrology (as science, art, philosophy, or perhaps as a future religion) does not subscribe to any belief in the word “coincidence.”  It says that there are truly remarkable things in the universe, and as a result of this there are awe-inspiring occurrences in our lives.
— Celestial Harmony by Martin Schulman

As a Jew — and as an astrologer — I belief that there are no coincidences.  A coincidence is, astrologically speaking, a fact — the moment of any event, its time and place, coincides with the position of the planets at that very moment — and a meaning and significance is assigned to that ‘coincidence’.   

Astrological facts are symbolically displayed on a horoscope or birth chart.  Some of these facts are observed only after an analysis of their implications.  For example, a birth chart with Sun at 20 degrees Aries has one meaning for an individual age 10 and another for an individual age 50 — in first instance, the progressed Sun is entering Taurus, while in the second it is entering Gemini.  An astrologer’s practiced eye sees these deeper levels of meaning of these identical astrological facts.

Life-experience — significant biographical change — is reflected by the planetary transits and cycles that are implied in the planetary positions of a horoscope.  These astrological facts give a needed perspective: seeing life from above, from a panoramic point-of-view.   This perspective sees truly remarkable things in the universe  and one can understand and participate in awe-inspiring occurrences — these occurrences are not coincidences.


What is Jewish Mysticism?

Judaism began with the reception of the Torah, the Hebrew Bible, by the Israelites, in the Hebrew month of Sivan (Gemini), in the year 2448 (1313 BCE). Kabbalah refers to the tradition of Jewish mysticism based on the names of God found in the Torah and the verses of the Torah, itself.

An important source for Kabbalah is a small book entitled Sefer Yetzirah. The importance of this sefer (book), since its appearance over a thousand years ago, can be seen from the fact that it is referred to, commented on, and mentioned in countless rabbinical works over the centuries up to our own times.

The Sefer Yetzirah besides its importance for Kabbalah, is also a primary source for Jewish Astrology. To understand these Kabbalah texts and to know what they are about essentially, it is necessary to understand the purpose of Judaism, and therefore of Jewish mysticism and Jewish Astrology. Broadly speaking, the Torah and Jewish mysticism speak to the dilemma of how to live a spiritual life in a material world. The goal of Jewish spirituality is to attach or join oneself with the Divine by shaping one’s behavior to emulate Divine characteristics, such as compassion and love for others. Needless to say, spirituality transcends gender, age, social status, and even religious affiliation or lack thereof. 

The video clip below shows Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, who translated and commented on the Sefer Yetzirah, in an interview with Dr. Russell Barber, TV host and producer.

Click “CC” for Closed Captions in English.