Aug 24, 2011

Missed Opportunity

I was sitting out on the porch, enjoying the gorgeous weather, when I began to feel vibrations.  Since my washing machine was not in use, it wasn't the spin cycle that was causing my chair to shake.  What was going on?

Upon entering the house and seeing everything shaking, the bookcases, light fixture, the entire room, I knew this was an earthquake, a rare occurrence in my part of the world.  The last earthquake I remember was about 25 years ago.  I was in bed and felt some gentle shaking.  But this time, I was up and about and the house was being shaken! It was mild and nothing was falling, and so it was mostly an exciting experience.  I looked outside and people were walking down the street as though nothing was going on, so perhaps they didn't feel anything.  Someone told me that she was on the third floor of her house and felt it, while those downstairs did not feel anything.

Later that night I was dismayed when I realized I had missed a bracha opportunity! There is a bracha to be said  over an earthquake.

There are those who view earthquakes purely as natural events which doesn't mean anything unless you acknowledge Who is behind all of nature.  Some see it in negative terms, as Hashem expressing His anger.  I like hearing that the Gemara says earthquakes are Hashem's way of showing His compassion and love for us, though I don't know how that fits with the earthquake of 1837 in which Tzfas was completely destroyed, 4000 Jews were killed, and somewhere between 700 and 1000 Jews were killed in Teveria.

There was an upbeat American spiritual with the words, "He's got the whole world in His hands" which I was reminded of.  Hashem holding the universe and giving it a little shake to remind us He's there.

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