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Waves of Fury and Fear

Mishpacha Staff

As October came to a close, the frenetic pre-election activity slowed, then halted, asAmerica’s entire Eastern Coastheld its collective breath – watching and waiting for a furious storm to hit.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

hurricaneHurricaneSandy had strewn loss and devastation on its previous touchdowns inCentral America. Now, as it barreled ever closer to the North American coastline, presidential polls were relegated to the back burner. Residents of coastal areas were urged to evacuate. Generators, batteries and flashlights were snatched from the shelves, schools cancelled, businesses ground to a halt, andNew York City’s famed subway system closed.

The weathermen were right this time.Sandyhit, and hit hard, spewing waves of debris over homes and businesses, sweeping away children from parents and uprooting trees with casual ease. Millions of homes were plunged into cold and darkness, a majorNew Yorkhospital was forced to evacuate its patients, dozens of innocents killed.

A week later, citizens are still limping back to routine, facing staggering damages and a prolonged, painful cleanup campaign.

Sandy may be gone, but the images of those furious gray waves swallowing up civilization — and the sense of human fragility in the face of Divine might — won’t recede for a long, long time.


With Surgical Precision

Long Island, NY

The insurance people have suddenly become very frum: “It was an act of G-d,” they say. The media, not as religious, wrote of “the power of the storm” or “nature’s fury.”

But we know better. Koheles (3:14) says, “V’haElokim asah sheyiru m’lefanav — G-d has acted so that man should stand in awe of him.” The early part of the Kuzari quotes a philosopher who was perfectly comfortable believing in a Creator. He just couldn’t imagine that G-d cares enough to be involved on a daily basis. All of a sudden, here He is in our lives — with surgical precision. This tree down, that one not, this house flooded, that one tranquil.

I can’t speak for others. But for the past week I have heard our brothers and sisters, some who have lost everything, declare with full faith, “I accept it all from Hashem.”

We left town because of an enforced evacuation and returned to darkness. Our house was flooded, rare seforim ruined, manuscripts lost. We couldn’t participate in a Shabbos bar mitzvah, and since our cell phones weren’t working we stopped by just to say mazel tov. Suddenly, in the house next door to the bar mitzvah, a minyan for Minchah-Maariv was beginning. Even better, the bar mitzvah bochur was davening for the amud in honor of his bo bayom. So we danced, said divrei Torah, made a l’chayim and felt that “the Jews had light and gladness and joy.”

— Rabbi Yaakov Feitman


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