Nov 17, 2013

Consider Yourselves Warned

I've been thinking intermittently about the disaster in the Philippines.  Major loss of life, misery and devastation.  How everything that happens in the world happens for the sake of the Jewish people.  The following was written by R' Mendel Weinbach a'h:

When news of an earthquake in Japan a century ago reached the Radin Yeshiva in Poland, the sainted Chofetz Chaim assembled the students and delivered an inspiring mussar lecture.
This lesson was delivered millennia ago by the Prophet Tzephaniah who declared in the Name of G-d:
"I have cut off nations; their pinnacles are desolate; I have made their streets waste so that none passes by; their cities are destroyed so that there is no man, there is no inhabitant. I said, surely you will fear me and will learn a lesson." (3:6-7)

The words of the Prophet are quoted in a lecture written during the Middle Ages by the great Talmudic commentator Rabbeinu Nissim who points out that when people fail to learn from the disasters which strike others, they cause such tragedy to come closer to them. One who fails to see natural disasters as a Heavenly warning and fails to make any improvements, he concludes, is comparable to one who has sinned after being warned and thus exposes himself to retribution.

I have a hard time with this, specifically with the making improvements part.  I get as far as remembering everything that transpires happens for our sake and that they are supposed to be calls to teshuva.  I wonder if others are more successful in taking this to heart.

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