Hurricane Sandy: Act of God?

November 4, 2012 3:33 pm 5 comments

Flooding in Marblehead, Massachusetts, caused by Hurricane Sandy. Photo: The Birks.

Editor’s note: Simon Jacobson’s article, The Deeper Message of Hurricane Sandy, has provoked many responses, including some concerned with the religious perspective on the disaster. We therefore bring you a follow-up addition from the author of the original article.

It goes without saying that Hurricane Sandy and the deaths and devastation that it wrought — as well as all disasters (“natural” or not) — are not seen by Jews as divine “punishments” or “retribution.” In no way do we ever try to justify death and destruction. Our hearts go out to all those who suffered losses and we actually challenge G-d to live up to His promises of compassion and love to all His children and to His entire creation. As such, in the name of our absolute belief and commitment to goodness, we do everything in our power to help those that have suffered and pray that everyone should be blessed with long and healthy lives.

Yet, as sensitive human beings we also look to learn deeper lessons from any event, especially a calamity. We don’t ignore the event; we see it as an opportunity for personal introspection and growth.

Though all this is self understood, due to the fact that there may be those that have a distorted view on Judaism (and may project their own stereotypes on this critical issue (see for example here) — I recommend reading another elaborate article on the topic which I wrote in response to those that suggested blaming Hurricane Katirna on the Israeli withdrawal at the time from  Gaza.

Here is a link to the article: Katrina and Gaza

And here is a link to another related article: The Soul of a Hurricane: Exclusive Interview

5 Comments

  • Lawrence Kulak

    There is a basic premise in the Torah, I believe it is mentioned in Mesechta Shabbos, that man is punished for his sins alone and not for others. For that reason alone, I would be reluctant to link Hurricane Katrina to the Gaza withdrawa. However, we also know from the story of Shechem in the Torah, that when these people were killed out by Yaakov’s sons for raping Dina, they were all worthy of death due to their neglect of the Noahide Laws. Hashem may choose certain times for disasters occur, when certain sins coincide with certain other events. Hashem has patience and can wait until he is ready to act which can be a very long time, and then he can also choose to act sooner as a ‘hint’ that there is also some other objectionable things going on. I definitely think that Hashem hinted to us about Gaza when Hurrican Katrina came even though the people still deserved it for other reasons. Hashem does everything for a reason and I believe does it in a way that we can figure things out – if we sincerely try.

  • I STILL THINK THE RABBI HAS LOST HIS MARBLES,
    HE MIGHT AS WELL READ THE SIGNS IN THE FLIGHT
    OF BIRDS.
    WELL WE ONLY HAVE TO WAIT TILL THE END OF TIMES.

  • TO THE COMMENT RUTH:
    I DONT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SAYING, I DONT HAVE THE SLIGHTEST CLUE BUT ANYWAY I WILL LOOK UP THE WORD “AMELIORATE”.
    I was thinking it must be a mexican dish being you posted enchilada… I dont know…
    but you must be sayin’ sumptin senora.
    You also posted “karmic”, ARE YOU FROM THE HIMALAYAS AND A BUDDIST?
    Being I read shelock holmes novels which makes me automatically a detective of some “karmic” standing…
    I guess you REALLY are from california and moved to study to india to study karma.
    TRY BOTTLED WATER,its safer then that california water from the streams that breed the minnows that were protected preventing the farmers from using the water to farm the crops that feed the people that pay the taxes and vote for liberals..but I love those ‘john dere’ tractors. They really can shake the earth.and thats not from sin its from pure raw horse power.juist dont stand to close. HEY RUTHIE, DO YOU LIKE PANCAKES? The tractor made me think of pancakes

    WALLA! THATS IT! YOU ARE A LIBERAL..

  • You cannot justify a mighty storm’s devastating effects to people, animals, and the like to retributive justice of some kind. You cannot blame people for suffering, as if they drew it upon themselves in some karmic way or in this life have to repent for something they did. That is really terribly wrong. IF you believe in Divine Providence, even then it is incumbent on people to work with the after-effecs of such a calamity towards repair, and to support everyone in trouble, The only true meaning that can be derived from suffering is what we do with it afterwards in a positive and caring manner. As to G-d, you cannot second guess a Divine power, except to act in these positive ways, We do know, the motive force, that force which brings meaning into our lives, is just this, what we call Tikkun Olam. One could say we need the broken parts, to have something to repair, but we cannot justify the pain ever, in having these broken parts. IF you believe it’s G_d running the show, then you have to perhaps, add another belief, as people fall, and that is, it’s not over, when… it’s over. Maybe something in all this references the idea of Maya, or illusion. Maybe what we see, is not the entire enchilada, or everything bagel. Maybe the story’s not over, by a longshot. We can always, Wait, and Hope, and Act in the meantime to ameliorate this broken world. That’s a FACT, and ACT is contained by the word, FACT.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    JNS.org – Five months after Israeli forces tried to assassinate Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif in Gaza, Deif appears to have signed a letter that the terrorist group claims he wrote in hiding. The letter, addressed to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, expressed Deif’s condolences for the death of Hezbollah terrorists during Sunday’s reported Israeli airstrike in Syria. Deif is said to have survived multiple assassination attempts, but he has not been seen in public for years. According to the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    JNS.org – The cracks that had been simply painted over for so long began to show in Ferguson, Mo., in November 2014, but in truth they had begun to open wide much earlier—on Saturday, July 13, 2013. That is when a jury in Sanford, Fla., acquitted George Zimmerman of culpability for the death of a 17-year-old black man, Trayvon Martin. The cracks receded from view over time, as other news obscured them. Then came the evening of Aug. 9, 2014, [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    A controversial scene in the season finale of Homeland sparked outrage by comparing former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to a fictional Taliban leader, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. In the season 4 finale episode, which aired on Dec. 21, CIA black ops director Dar Adal, played by F. Murray Abraham, justifies a deal he made with a Taliban leader by referencing Begin. He makes the remarks in a conversation with former CIA director Saul Berenson, a Jewish character played by Mandy [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Shining Light on Fiction During the North Korea-Sony saga, we learned two important lessons. The first is that there are two sides to this story, and neither of them are correct because ultimately we should have neither inappropriate movies nor dictators. The second is that we cannot remain entirely fixed on the religious world, but we also must see beyond the external, secular view of reality. It’s important to ground our Torah-based thoughts into real-life activism. To view our act [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    JNS.org – Hollywood has had its share of big-budget biblical flops, but until now, the Exodus narrative has not been among them. Studios have brought Moses to the big screen sparingly, but in ways that defined the image and character of Moses for each generation of audiences. The first biblical epic In 1923, director Cecil B. DeMille left it to the American public to decide the subject of his next movie for Paramount. DeMille received a letter from a mechanic [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – The story of the Exodus from Egypt is a tale as old as time itself, to borrow a turn of phrase. It’s retold every Passover, both at the seder table and whenever “The Ten Commandments” is aired on television. But the latest adaptation—Ridley Scott’s epic film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”—fails to meet expectations. Scott’s “Exodus” alters the source material to service the story and ground the tale, but the attempt to reinvent the biblical narrative becomes laughable. Moses [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Lifestyle ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    JNS.org - In December 2007, leaders of the Hazon nonprofit drafted seven-year goals for what they coined as the “Jewish Food Movement,” which has since been characterized by the increased prioritization of healthy eating, sustainable agriculture, and food-related activism in the Jewish community. What do the next seven years hold in store? “One thing I would like to see happen in the next seven years is [regarding] the issue of sugar, soda, and obesity, [seeing] what would it be like to rally the [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Education Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    JNS.org – Forget the dioramas. How about working on an Israeli Air Force drone? That’s exactly the kind of beyond-their-years access enjoyed by students at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) industrial vocational high school run by Israel Sci-Tech Schools, the largest education network in the Jewish state. More than 300 students (250 on the high school level and 68 at a two-year vocational academy) get hands-on training in the disciplines of aviation mechanics, electricity and energy control, and unmanned air [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.