13th of Tamuz, 5770
Yesterday a short but fierce 'tornado' struck our Great Neck community causing unseen devastation and damage. (see: http://www.newsday.com/long-island/powerful-thunderstorm-takes-heavy-toll-on-li-1.2049955).
Everything happened in less than 20 seconds…. Hundreds of homes were affected and probably 'thousands' of tress fell on the streets,on backyards and on top of houses. In my house, which I believe was affected in an average way, six tress fell down. Three of them fell on the garage, one of them on the car another one over an A/C structure and the tallest one fell on the neighbor's backyard but it uprooted half of my driveway. Great Neck looks like a battlefield! Everywhere you see destruction and devastation. And of course, no power (no AC, freezer, etc).
Is it God's wrath unleashed on our community? Punishing us for the 'terrible' things we do, as probably some 'spiritual opportunists' will state?
Indeed our Chakhamim teach us that every time a tragedy affects us we need to reflect on our lives. Why? Because tragedies or 'acts of God' of this nature are very powerful reminders of our fragility and perhaps the best invitation to reflect on our mortality and limited existence.
But today I think we should focus on something else: Despite the terrible effect of the 'tornado' BARUCH HASHEM there was no one killed or even hurt, as far as we now, which given the numbers of trees and live wires that fell , to me, it is a obvious miracle (Nes Galui)!!!
Many times, we chose to focus on God's wrath but this time I chose to focus on God's mercy, on Magen Abraham, God that protected Abraham and saved his life so many times.
I chose to focus on MODIM ANACHNU LAKH 'we are thankful to You God Almighty' al nishmotnu hapekudot lakh knowing that 'our lives are 'deposited' with You, at Your care …'
A tragedy of this magnitude also gives us the chance to look for opportunities of Chesed, helping and caring for others in times of need.
May haShem always protect us from harm!