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November 4, 2012 3:33 pm

Hurricane Sandy: Act of God?

avatar by Simon Jacobson

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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

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