Comets, and particularly large comets that pass close to the earth, can affect our planet in some hugely fundamental ways.
In this post, I thought it would be useful to track down some of the key ‘turning points’linked to comets in human history, as described by the Torah.
Can we see the fingerprints of James McCanney’s ‘Plasma Discharge Comet Model’, as described in THIS post, coming through in the Torah’s descriptions of things like Noah’s flood (the mabbul); the sin of Enosh ben Shet (the first idol-worshipper in the world), and also the Exodus from Egypt and the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai?
If the answer is ‘yes’, then that gives us a pretty good basis to assume that just as Hashem used large comets in the past to achieve key milestones in the human race’s spiritual development, He will probably do so again, in the time of Moshiach.
PLEASE NOTE: The Jewish sources below were all culled from Rabbi Dovid Brown’s wonderful work, ‘Mysteries of the Creation’. If you haven’t already bought his book, please do so, as he goes into much more depth and detail about many of the points brought below, and this post really stands on his tremendous scholarship and insight.
MOUNTAINS THAT ‘RUN’, ‘MELT’ AND ARE FORMED IN AN INSTANT
The first place to start is with James McCanney’s assertion that:
“During the close passage of a large comet, the ‘gravitational wave’ is sufficient to move waves of land and rock at speeds in excess of a thousand miles per hour, across land.”
Elsewhere, he tells us that:
“Mountain chains were ripped from the ground in a brief, violent motion as a massive planet / comet passed by earth.”
I’m going to keep my own comments very brief in this post, as the biblical quotations I’m about to list really speak for themselves:
Midrash Mechilta, Yitro, haChodesh 4:
“When God descended to give the Torah to Yisrael, the mountains rushed to dispute with each other. Each one wished the Torah to be given upon it. Mount Tavor travelled from Beit Aylim, and Mount Carmel crossed the sea from Spain to the Sinai Desert in order to be chosen for mattan Torah. Though their candidacies were rejected, their honor of the Torah was rewarded by their being replanted in Eretz Yisrael”
Psalm 29 (which Chazal in Sanhedrin 116a tells us is referring to Matan Torah):
“The voice of God is on the waters; the God of glory thunders…The voice of God breaks the cedars, Hashem shatters the cedars of Lebanon! He makes them (the mountains of Lebanon and Siryon) prance about like a calf, like young antelopes! The voice of Hashem lights flames of fire. The voice of Hashem convulses the wilderness…of Kadesh.”
The prophet Nachum (1:4, 5):
“The mountains tremble because of Him and hills melt; the earth goes up in smoke before Him, and the world and all its residents.”
Midrash Yalkut Shimoni 1:47:
“In the days of Enosh ben Shet, the third generation after creation, people began to anger the creator with new religious practices…Consequently, God brought on them three punishments: First, the ocean broke out and flooded a third of the globe. Second, whereas previously the earth had been entirely level, in those days it became mountainous, rocky and hilly (in the future, yet to come the world will be returned to its original level state.) Third, God reduced the height of men.”
Midrash Brayshit Rabba 49:6:
“For 25 years prior to the destruction of Sdom, God brought tremors onto the land and made the mountains around Sdom quake to warn the people they must repent, but they didn’t take the hint.”
Rashi on Parshat Vayeira, 19:25:
“The four cities of Sdom and its suburbs were situated on one table of rock. The angel overturned the rock and with that one act, the cities were overturned.”
TWO TYPES OF MOUNTAIN
Sources from the Torah basically describe two types of mountains in the world:
1) ‘Volcanic’ mountains, that were formed at the time of creation, in order to raise the land out of the sea and give the water that covered the earth depressions in which to ‘pool’ as oceans.
2) Non-volcanic mountains, that were formed AFTER the six days’ of creation by God, usually in response to some massive spiritual event like people starting to worship idols, or the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai.
And guess what – modern geology agrees!
So far, we’ve seen proof from the Torah that mountains melted, ‘ran around the globe’ and reformed on a number of occasions, including:
- When the generation of Enosh started to worship idols
- When the inhabitants of Sdom sinned and were destroyed by God
- When the Torah was given on Mount Sinai
(I’m sure there are many more instances, too.)
GOD DOESN’T VIOLATE HIS OWN LAWS OF NATURE
Before we continue, it should be made clear that the ‘line’ between ‘miracle’ and ‘natural occurrence’ is completely blurred when it comes to any discussion of comets. As a believing Jew, we know that really there IS NO NATURE, in any area or sliver of our lives. Even the smallest occurrence, thought or action in the world is God’s doing.
That’s the first principle of faith, and the first rule of Emuna.
But when we’re discussing enormous, earth-shattering events like the destruction wreaked by close contact with a comet, the curtain that Hashem hides behind in the physical world essentially disappears.
Clearly, God is the one moving all these mountains around, and flooding the world etc!
Nevertheless, the Zohar reminds us (in Bereishit 138b, Midrash HaNe’elam) that:
“The laws of nature are never violated.”
Which is probably why 4/5 of Am Yisrael died in the plague of darkness, and why the world didn’t repent of its idol worshipping ways in the time of Noah, because their evil inclination had them convinced that the ‘Niribu’ of their time was a natural phenomenon, and nothing to do with God….
CHANGES IN THE EARTH’S AXIS
Another thing we learnt in the last post is that ‘near misses’ with large comets can change the earth’s rotation on its axis, and permanently shift the poles, completely altering the earth’s calendar and seasons and relationship to the sun.
Is there any discussion of that phenomenon, in Torah sources? You betcha!
“Before the mabbul (Noah’s flood), the apparent circuit of the sun was directly around the equator. The change in the attitude of the earth after the mabbul, so that the earth faces the sun at an inclination of the axis, is the cause of the varying seasons.
“Before the mabbul, the climate was perpetually warm due to the sun striking the earth directly at the equator. That environment was extraordinarily robust compared to the modern world’s, and the earth had greater energy in all its members, mineral, vegetable, animal and human. For this reason, their lives were extraordinarily long.”
Midrash Bereish Rabba, 25:4:
“Rabbi Yochanon teaches that the heavenly bodies ceased functioning during the 12 months of the mabbul. Rabbi Yonaton argues that they did function, but as the earth was heavily clouded, their effects didn’t reach the land.”
“Then the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the people took retribution against their enemies…so the sun stood in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to set for a whole day. There was no day like that before or after it…”
(Again, there’s lots more to say on each of these areas, but there’s a limit to how much I can type, so I’m giving a flavour here, and feel free to flesh it out in the comments section if you have more to add.)
FIRE AND BRIMSTONE / FLAMING HAIL
One of the things that occur with ‘near misses’ with large comets is that many of the accompanying gases, substances and rocks in the comet’s tail inundate the earth. That usually results in massive flooding on a scale that’s impossible to describe (as we know happened at the time of Enosh, when a third of the world was covered with water, and again with Noah’s flood, when the whole world was submerged by ‘strong waters’ for a year.)
But other things also ‘fall’ into the earth’s atmosphere from a near miss with a comet, including the elements that form naptha (crude oil), sulphur, and many other chemical compounds, metals, gasses, small rocks and other debris.
Often, these elements ignite as they fall through the atmosphere to earth.
So one of the key things that happen with close calls with comets is that the earth can be deluged BOTH by fire, and by water, at one and the same time.
Another thing to add into the mix is that an approaching large comet plays havoc with the earth’s existing weather and geology, triggering earthquakes and volcanoes. The Torah tells us that there are 8,000 volcanoes (or what it terms ‘gateways to Gehinnom) in the world – and many of these volcanoes are located in the oceans.
So with that knowledge under out belts, let’s see what Torah passages we can find that might be describing some of these phenomena:
Parshat Noach, Bereishit 7:4:
“In another seven days, I will bring rain on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights, and I will obliterate the whole establishment which I had made from the face of the earth.”
Gemara, Sanhedrin 108b:
“The people of that time [the mabbul] sinned by raising their temperatures with sexual crimes; in consequence they were punished too by heat, with water at boiling temperature.
Parshat Vayeira, Bereishit 19:24:
“God made sulphur and fire rain on Sdom…”
Parshat Vaeira, Shemot 9:22:
“Hashem said to Moshe, ‘Stretch out your hand toward heaven and there will be hail in the entire land of Egypt, on man and beast, and on all the grass of the field in the land of Egypt.’
“Moshe stretched out his staff toward heaven, and Hashem sent thunder and hail, and fire went earthward, and Hashem rained hail upon the land of Egypt. There was hail and fire flaming amid the hail – very heavy, such as had never been in the entire land of Egypt, from the time it became a nation.”
And Chazal teach us that some of those same ‘hailstones’ returned a generation later, to help Joshua overcome his enemies as he led Am Israel in the conquest of Eretz Israel:
“It happened when they fled before Israel; they were on the descent of Beth-horon when Hashem cast upon them large stones from heaven until [they reached] Azekah and they died. More died through the hailstones then the Children of Israel killed with the sword.”
THE SEVENTH WORLD
As we set out in THIS POST, where we discussed the six different ‘worlds’ that have existed since the creation of Adam and Eve, Pirkei deRabbay Eliezer tells us that the seventh world, the world of Moshiach, is also going to be a strikingly different place, physically, from the way we’re experiencing life at the moment.
Here’s a few of the statements we find in our sources about what will be happening in that seventh world:
Yerushalmi, Shkollim 6:2:
“Rabbi Yehuda maintains that in the future, grain will grow in one month and tress will bear fruit every two months. Rabbi Yossi asserts that grain will grow in fifteen days and trees will bear every month.”
Torat Cohanim on Parshat BeChukotai, Vayikra, 26:4:
“The Torah doesn’t promise us merely that in the future the earth will bring forth produce as it does today, but that it will produce at its maximum level, the way it did before the sin of Adam HaRishon. That is, crops will come up daily.”
Gemara Ketuvot 112b:
“In Eretz Yisroel in the future, even trees that today don’t produce edible fruits will bear fruit for human consumption.”
Prophet Yeshaya, 65:20, 22:
“There will no longer be a person who dies young, nor even an old person who doesn’t live out his natural life span, for a person who dies at age 100 will be considered to have died young, and a sinner will be cursed to die at a century…”
THE NATURE OF THE WORLD WILL CHANGE – NATURALLY
As you’re hopefully starting to grasp, the way God can cause these enormous changes in the nature of the world, and in human life, ‘naturally’, without breaking His own laws of nature, is via the massive realignments of planet earth that come along with close encounters with planet-sized comets.
There’s lots more to say, but for now, let me leave you with the following quotes about what’s in store for the world at the end of days, and I’ll leave it to you to figure out this could all be tied in to another ‘close encounter’ with a huge comet:
Midrash Dvorim Rabba 4:11:
“How will God enlarge Eretz Israel? When a scroll is rolled up, one cannot tell its length. When it’s unrolled, its size becomes evident. Just so, Eretz Israel is mostly mountains and hills. God will flatten it…then the true size of Eretz Israel will become evident.”
Prophet Zecharia 14:1-5:
“A day for God is coming…I will gather all the nations to Yerushalayim for war…And God will go out and fight with those nations like the day He fought the Egyptians at the Yam Suf.
“His feet will stand on that day on the Mount of Olives…east of Jerusalem, the Mount of Olives will split in half, forming a very big rift, and half the mountain will move north and half south.”
Prophet Yechezkel 38:18-20:
“It will happen on that day, on the day Gog arrives in the land of Israel,” says God, ‘My anger will rise…in the heat of My wrath…there will be an earthquake in Eretz Israel….The mountains will be demolished, stairs will fall and every wall will topple to the ground.”
Tanna DeVey Eliyahu, Rabba, Ch.2:
“At that time the whole world will quake and the people will wonder, ‘Is a new mabbul coming on the world?’ God will assure them, ‘No, this isn’t a mabbul. I have come, rather, to make a banquet for my children and rule over the entire world.”
May we all pass through the upcoming process peacefully and safely, holding firmly onto God’s hand.