Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Fire on the Carmel: The Rabbis Say...

When a tragedy of this scale occurs two different kinds of investigation take place: One to investigate the immediate cause (was the fire arson or the result of carelessness?) and the other to seek the deeper spiritual reasons for the blaze.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef attributes the disaster to Sabbath desecration:
Hagaon Chacham Ovadia Yosef Shlita said on Motzei Shabbos that the devastating Carmel fire was a result of insufficient Shmiras Shabbos in the area.

“Fires only happen in a place where Shabbos is desecrated,” he quoted from the Gemara in his weekly Shiur. “Homes were ruined,” he continued, “entire neighborhoods wiped out, and it is not arbitrary. It is all divine providence.”

“We must repent, keep Shabbos appropriately. When the People of Israel repent, God safeguards them with a wall of fire,” but not of the incinerating type, the Chacham added.
Rabbi Dov Lior writes that the fire was Divine punishment for giving away parts of the land of Israel to terrorists.

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu calls for soul searching on the individual and national level.

Rabbi Uri Sherki says that the fire was "yissurim shel ahava", and that it was in place of a potentially greater disaster.

One may wonder: If Rabbi Yosef is correct, then Rabbi Lior is wrong. Likewise, if Rabbi Lior's reasoning is correct, then Rabbi Yosef is mistaken! The same with all the other rabbis mentioned. The answer is that, "eilu ve'eilu dirvrei elokim chayim". They are all correct!

A related item: Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Zini takes to task the rabbis that claimed that the current drought does not justify declaring a public fast (See echoes of that in the comment section of this post).

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