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Pisces the Fish

August 20, 2011 | by

A recent article mentioned the astrological sign Pisces the fish, saying that: "Pisceans tend to be on the spacey side, slightly out of touch with the physical world." This struck me as somewhat incongruous to Judaism. I realize you're not endorsing horoscopes, but where should we draw the line between legitimate mystical interpretation of "heavenly signs" and dabbling in pagan nonsense?

The Aish Rabbi Replies

The line between "heavenly signs" and "pagan nonsense" is quite clear. We cannot indulge in superstition, chance, luck, horoscopes, etc. (Maimonides - Ta'anit 1:3, Avoda Zara 6:1-2 and 11:4-16)

Although a person is born under an astrological influence, the Jewish approach is not to put much stock in astrology. That's because the Talmud states: "ain mazal l'Yisrael" - by elevating oneself spiritually, a Jew can literally change their human nature, and thus are able to override their original astrological pattern.

And yet, the spacey nature of fish is mentioned in the Midrash ("Sifri D'Agadeta" Esther 3). - that Adar being represented with fish,

When Haman drew lots to determine decree the best time to destroy the Jews, he was happy that it fell in the month of Adar (Pisces). He reasoned that when pursuing food, fish are oblivious to dangers. Thus Haman assumed he could kill the Jews without resistance.

However, this is a double-edged sword. Either the fish becomes prey, or it takes others prey. They have a tendency for comeback victories. Esther and Mordechai were oblivious to the dangers of entering the King's palace without invitation, and thus the Jews were saved. The very astrological nature that Haman assumed would bring about the Jews' destruction is what saved them. For example, the gallows prepared by Haman became the tool of his demise. It was a complete turn-around: "VeNohapoch Hu" (Esther 9:1).

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