Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

What Lessons Did You Learn and What Blessings Did You Count After the Hurricane?

Posted on | October 31, 2012 | By Administrator | 12 Comments

As this post points out:

There are two blessings to choose from upon witnessing extraordinary natural phenomena—including extremely strong winds.
Those two blessings (of which only one may be said on each occasion) are:

Baruch Atah Ado-nai Elo-hei-nu Melech haolam, osay ma’asei bereisheet.
Translation: Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, Maker of the works of creation.

Baruch Atah Ado-noi Elo-hei-nu Melech haolam, shekocho ugevurato malei olam.
Translation: Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, whose power and might fill the world.

Hurricanes and other extraordinary natural phenomena make Hashem’s presence and control quite clear.

What lessons did you learn from hurricane Sandy?

What were you thankful for after the storm?

Were any hashkafic insights discovered?

Comments

12 Responses to “What Lessons Did You Learn and What Blessings Did You Count After the Hurricane?”

  1. Arik
    October 31st, 2012 @ 3:42 am

    Time to make Aliyah !!!!!!

  2. Menachem Lipkin
    October 31st, 2012 @ 4:47 am

    “Hurricanes and other extraordinary natural phenomena make Hashem’s presence and control quite clear.”

    Could you elaborate on this? How would you explain this statement to someone who is not currently a believer?

  3. Mark Frankel
    October 31st, 2012 @ 8:22 am

    Hi Menachem, good to hear from you!

    If the non believer leans towards the skeptical, there is nothing that will make him (or her) see Hashem’s presence, since it is a spiritual phenomenon and the skeptic is dealing in a physical-only world.

    For people who are weak in Torah knowledge, I would suggest that they learn about the relation between the physical and the spiritual worlds. The Ramchal’s Derech Hashem (Way of G-d) is a good choice, ideally with a chavrusa or a mp3 or video.

    But as you know Beyond BT is a site for those who believe in a spiritual G-d and Torah. For believers, the Rabbinic authorities felt that extraordinary natural phenomena are such evidence of G-d’s presence that they instituted Berachos for them with Shem and Malkus (the mention of G-d’s name and his Kingship).

  4. Cosmic X
    October 31st, 2012 @ 8:55 am

    Some thoughts about Sandy here.

  5. Menachem Lipkin
    October 31st, 2012 @ 11:53 am

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the elaboration. That’s better. My guess is that not everyone who reads this site is a “believer” and I think that clarification is important. I don’t think saying that a “natural” event, maybe “extraordinary” but still within the norms of climatic behavior, “clarifies” God’s presence or control without a pre-existing belief that God exists and is in control. If anything, an event like Sandy could lead people to the opposite conclusion.

  6. Mark Frankel
    October 31st, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

    Menachem, due to Google and other referrer traffic it’s clear that not all readers of this site are firm believers in G-d.
    However it’s important to make the point that the posts on the site are written for people who do believe in G-d and are trying to strengthen that belief.
    As you well know belief and non-belief is not an either/or proposition, but rather a continuum.

    I don’t think that “extraordinary climatic behavior” leads minimal-to-non-believers away from belief. Their extraordinary nature might make thinking people reflect on whether nature does have bounds and if there is behavior that would be considered beyond nature. As for those firmly attached to their non-belief, even 10 plagues wouldn’t move them.

  7. Tuvia
    October 31st, 2012 @ 6:42 pm

    Just want to add something I once read: that monotheism started in the desert, and there are academic scholars who link this to the desert climate and environment. People who live in deserts may tend to see the one-ness of it all – it is so arid and quiet, with open views that can stretch for miles.

    Peoples that lived in rain forests, on the other hand, were so inundated with so many forms of life, and so much dense vegetation, and heard so many animal sounds, and felt threats from so many kinds of animals and insects – the idea of gods, or spirits in a state of some chaos – made sense to them.

    Tuvia

  8. Steve Brizel
    October 31st, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

    Despite all of our technological and scientific progress, we will never be able to completely tame what some call the forces of mother nature and what we call Derech HaTeva.

  9. Bob Miller
    November 1st, 2012 @ 10:35 am

    Steve is correct, but here not all prudent, technically feasible steps were taken in advance. Many planners, politicians, and citizens were still under an illusion that a Category 1 hurricane would never hit the NYC area head on (Irene hit from a less dangerous angle after its downgrade to tropical storm). Not to mention Categories 2, etc. Evacuation orders or requests were often dismissed due to stubbornness, also to bad effect. Codes allowing new housing without reasonable storm resistance to be built in vulnerable coastal areas have to be reassessed.

  10. Judy Resnick
    November 2nd, 2012 @ 11:50 am

    Twelve of the thirteen houses on Bailey Court in the Bayswater section of Far Rockaway are owned by frum Jewish families. Thank G-d all of us got through without any flood damage (although we are all without power since Monday). The bay rose ten feet and almost made it up the hill to our cul-de-sac. Our Agudah was flooded, as was our girls’ yeshivos BBY and TAG. However, thank G-d, no fires as in Breezy Point, no loss of life as in Staten Island, no total destruction as in Long Beach. I just keep repeating, “Thank G-d, Thank G-d, Thank G-d,” that Bailey Court was spared.

  11. shmuel
    November 2nd, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

    Lessons learned from H. Sandy:

    1. Modern technology and affluence have sheltered us from and put us in control of many aspects of our ennvironment, but we shouldn’t forget that no matter what human beings invent, we’re not fully in control.

    2. We have a lot to be thankful for. My home has no heat and no electricity, my garbage is overflowing, my kids are missing school and going crazy, I lost a lot of food that spoiled in the refrigerator and freezer, and I am missing work time that I need in order to pay my bills. But I feel it’s crucial to keep the perspective that HaKadosh Baruch Hu: blessed me with a wife and children –and protected us from harm during the storm; blesed me with a home –and spared it from damage during the storm; blessed me with such an abundance of food that I literally didn’t know what to do with it when my freezer stopped working; blessed me to live in a time and place where my life is relatively easy with the conveniences of electricity and central heat (my wife’s grandparents didn’t have such things until they were adults and still managed to live just fine); blessed me with a way to make a living even if it comes with certain challenges such as working additional time in the future to try to make up for what was lost during the aftermath of the storm. This is obviously not a complete list. Hodu lashem ki tov.

    to be clear, I am only talking about myself, I certainly don’t claim to speak for others who had other experiences and may have other perspectives.

  12. Mr. Cohen
    November 3rd, 2012 @ 11:28 pm

    What lessons did you learn from hurricane Sandy?

    Be prepared ALWAYS. Never allow your house to run out of supplies, because you never know when the stores might suddenly become closed or unreachable.

    I was sick during the worst days of the recent hurricane when the stores were closed. It was not easy being sick, but it would have been even worse if I had run out of: medicines, tissues, food or candles when the stores were closed.

    Last, but certainly not least, I thank HASHEM for getting me through difficult times!!!!

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