The moon (Sir 43:6-43:8)

“It is the moon

That marks the changing seasons.

The moon governs the times.

It is their everlasting sign.

From the moon

Comes the sign

For festal days.

It is a light that wanes

When it completes its course.

The new moon,

As its name suggests,

Renews itself.

The month is named

After the moon.

How marvelous it is

In this change!

It is a beacon

For the hosts on high!

It shines

In the vault of the heavens!”

Sirach points out how important the moon was for the Israelites. First, the moon marked the changing of seasons. Then the festival days were based on the moon. Both Passover and the feast of the Tents were based on a full moon. In fact, calculating the observance of Christian Easter each year is based on the full moon of spring. We even still talk about a harvest moon and a romantic moon. The moon appears to become full and wane because of its position between the sun and the earth. Thus it looks like the new moon renews itself. The Israelite Hebrews had the same word for moon and month, since they used a lunar calendar to keep track of their days. Yet even today, we appreciate the value of a bright glorious moon in the heavenly sky at night.

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