Sunday, October 14, 2012


Meteorologist Airs on Torah Channel (6:22)

Hear about the Rabbi who predicted a Flood or a Holocaust? Is the Perfect Storm on the horizon?


Meteorologist Airs on Torah Channel (6:22)

In Israel, the end of the holidays marks the start of the rainy season. A colleague of mine fears that the ominous storm clouds on the horizon portend more than foul weather. Indeed, at the very same time that Jews were praying for rain, fellow Jews were targeted in Taba.                                 

But for most of us, life goes on. As long as one’s family is not directly affected, it is hard to feel the impact of what is going on in someone else’s backyard. The storm clouds on the Weather Channel, we want to believe, will not rain on our party. And that is exactly the way it was in Noach’s time as well.                                     This reminds me of a movie called, “The Perfect Storm,” about a massive hurricane that did a lot of damage in 1991. In one scene, the meteorologist looking intently at the picture forming on his computer screen notices three weather fronts converging from totally different directions. Speaking to an uninterested co-worker, he describes the ‘Perfect Storm’; “You could be a meteorologist all of your life, and never see something like this.”           What the meteorologist summed up was not just the events that create a freak storm, but all of history. He encapsulated how small actions, each one not that dangerous on its own, can simultaneously occur and generate horrific results. It shows how easily people can fall for the illusions of everyday life, and be caught totally by surprise in the middle of deadly storms.                                      

It is similar to the final straw that breaks the camel’s back. Everything in life comes down to turning points of no-return. The trick is recognizing the dangerous trend before it is too late.                                                         They say that in the 1920’s the revered Chofetz Chaim used to bang his table during the final Shabbat meal and call out, “Millions are going to die, and they are doing nothing about it!”                                                      After the Holocaust, it became clear what was meant. So how did the Chofetz Chaim know this beforehand?  Because long before G-d carries out His plans, He allows the righteous among us to sense the peril. This allows us, if we pay attention, to thwart it.                                                  

But then there comes that point of no-return, when the spirit of evil can no longer be restrained. Like the moment that Noach was told to board the Ark, and too many straws had been loaded on the camel’s back.                Imagine this scene: The neighborhood boys are playing baseball. You hit the ball a little too far and watch it sail...right for the expensive window in a neighbor’s house. Watching helplessly, pride quickly turns to fear as your brain calculates the trajectory of the ball while the little voice inside your head is already whispering, “It’s a goner and so am I.”                                             

The owner of the house, out in his backyard gardening is unaware of the projectile. In fact, even the other players don’t see yet where it is heading. And for a few precious moments time seems to stand still, but not the emotions which await with trepidation the explosion of glass.                                                                          It’s all so deceptive. The sun is shining, the air is fresh, and all in all it is a beautiful day. The boys are having fun, and the gardener is still obliviously happy as that nasty little ball just follows the laws of nature, or more accurately, Divine Providence.                             

And then it finally happens: SMASH!! And then like a hurricane, everything suddenly changes. The game ends, the batter catches his breath, and the gardener jumps in shock. All of a sudden, it is a different world, and an unpleasant one at that.  But that is only a baseball and a piece of glass. Imagine an entire world.                         Some contend that nothing has fundamentally changed. They say that the world is just as dangerous and calamitous today as it has always been. What’s different is our ability to report events from every corner of the globe and to bring into your living room instantly.                     

Perhaps. But what about Noach’s time? What would you say about a ‘crazy’ man who spends 120 years building a large water-tight vessel in his driveway or about a Rabbi who rants about the death of millions when the world is building towards international peace? Probably not the same response you would have when the rains actually show up and the door of the Ark closes in your face.                                                                Now you know why my colleague is worried. He argues that no one is listening to the warning signs occurring all over the world. As a chassid, I have a different perspective. True, we are experiencing turbulent times, but they represent the last stand of the forces of evil.                                                                           I don’t believe we’re too late. We can change history, before it changes us. But just to be on the safe side, and not be caught up in a storm with no lifeboat, tune in to our recognized spiritual meteorologists. They’re on your local Torah channel.

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