To The Editor:
"No trouble comes to the world except on behalf of Yisroel"
(Yevomos 63) -- "in order to frighten them to do
teshuvah" (Rashi). And basic yirah and
pachad Shomayim are sorely missing in the world
The earthquake in nearby Turkey is a lesson in yirah
and pachad if ever there was one, reminding us of
a future one: "Surely in that day there will be a great
shaking in the Land of Israel; so that the fish of the sea,
the fowls of the heaven, the beasts of the field, all the
creeping things and all the men that are on the face of the
earth will shake at My presence; and the mountains will be
overthrown, the cliffs will topple and every wall will
collapse" (Yechezkel 38).
"I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle .
. . the city will be captured... the Mount of Olives will
split apart . . . you will flee like you fled before the
earthquake in the days of Uzziah, King of Yehuda"
When Tokyo was destroyed by an earthquake in 1923, killing
60,000, the Chofetz Chaim did not stop speaking about it for
ten years, saying that it was a sign for his generation to
mend its ways.
"G-d sends earthquakes when he sees places of amusement and
entertainment overly flourishing, while the Temple lies a
heap of dust and ashes" (Yerushalmi Brochos 9)!
Similarly, the August 11 eclipse reminded one of the
gemora: "When the sun is in eclipse it is a bad omen
for the nations . . . if it is in eclipse in the east, it is
a bad omen for those who dwell in the east; . . . But when
Israel fulfill the will of Hashem, they need have no fear of
these signs as it is said, Thus saith the L-rd, `Learn not
the way of the nations, and be not dismayed at the signs of
heaven, for the nations are dismayed at them' (Yirmiya
10) -- the nations will be dismayed, but Israel will not
be dismayed" (Succah 29).
May the coming year see the fulfillment of the Chesed
Le'Avraham's prediction that 5760 will see "the Spirit of
Impurity removed from the earth . . . " (Zecharia
Yannai ben Ze'ev