Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

13 Elul 5759 - August 25, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Opinion & Comment
Taking the Natural Events to Heart

To The Editor:

"No trouble comes to the world except on behalf of Yisroel" (Yevomos 63) -- "in order to frighten them to do teshuvah" (Rashi). And basic yirah and pachad Shomayim are sorely missing in the world today.

The earthquake in nearby Turkey is a lesson in yirah and pachad if ever there was one, reminding us of a future one: "Surely in that day there will be a great shaking in the Land of Israel; so that the fish of the sea, the fowls of the heaven, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things and all the men that are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence; and the mountains will be overthrown, the cliffs will topple and every wall will collapse" (Yechezkel 38).

"I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle . . . the city will be captured... the Mount of Olives will split apart . . . you will flee like you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah, King of Yehuda" (Zecharia 14).

When Tokyo was destroyed by an earthquake in 1923, killing 60,000, the Chofetz Chaim did not stop speaking about it for ten years, saying that it was a sign for his generation to mend its ways.

"G-d sends earthquakes when he sees places of amusement and entertainment overly flourishing, while the Temple lies a heap of dust and ashes" (Yerushalmi Brochos 9)!

Similarly, the August 11 eclipse reminded one of the gemora: "When the sun is in eclipse it is a bad omen for the nations . . . if it is in eclipse in the east, it is a bad omen for those who dwell in the east; . . . But when Israel fulfill the will of Hashem, they need have no fear of these signs as it is said, Thus saith the L-rd, `Learn not the way of the nations, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the nations are dismayed at them' (Yirmiya 10) -- the nations will be dismayed, but Israel will not be dismayed" (Succah 29).

May the coming year see the fulfillment of the Chesed Le'Avraham's prediction that 5760 will see "the Spirit of Impurity removed from the earth . . . " (Zecharia 13:2)!

Yours truly

Yannai ben Ze'ev


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