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Acute angles: Should Jews believe in good or back luck?

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Rabbi. I read that in Adar it’s good to schedule a court case with a Gentile because it’s a lucky month! Surely Jews aren’t superstitious in that way? I thought the Torah didn’t believe in lucky times. (Lev. 19:26). Yours in confusion, Jared W.

Dear Rabbi. Why do we say Mazal Tov at a wedding or other celebration? Doesn’t it mean “good luck”? or “lucky star”? I thought we Jews didn’t believe in good and bad luck. Doesn’t G-D run the world? Can you explain? Thanks. Sharon Gats.

Dear Jared and dear Sharon,

Since we are still in Adar, it’s a good time (as opposed to a lucky time!) to deal with these related and very cogent questions.

The Talmud does indeed say, rather strangely (Taanit 29b), that a Jew who has a lawsuit with a Gentile is advised to avoid him during Av de-rei mazalei when the mazal is bad and make himself available to him during Adar de-varei mazalei when the mazal is good.

On the other hand, in Shabbat 156a, after a long discussion on the effect of the stellar constellations and the day and hour of one’s birth on temperament, character and destiny, the great Rabbi Yochanan declares ein mazal le-Yisrael, the celestial signs have no bearing on the destiny of the nation of Israel! Rabbi Abba, known in the Gemara simply as Rav, agrees, expounding Genesis 1:5 — “And He took him (Abraham) outside and said ‘gaze........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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