Reader-submitted: Letter from resident in the path of Hurricane Irma

[From a former Lakewood resident now residing in Florida] As Hurricane Irma approaches Florida, I can’t help but think about the lessons that can be gleaned from its arrival.

A storm that is breaking records as the largest and strongest storm ever to form in the Atlantic, with maximum sustained winds of 185 MPH and gusts measuring it at 225 MPH.

A storm that measures close to 400 miles across as it steadily makes its way closer and closer to Miami a mere 2 weeks before the Yom HaDin. I would have to be blind not to see that Hashem is talking to us.

What am I supposed to learn from it? What are we, as a community, supposed to learn from this?

As we watch people pack up and flee with the sole intention of keeping their families safe from harm. What is the Ribono Shel Olam telling us?

Well, there are a few thoughts going through my mind right now.

The first is the unbelievable Chesed that is born from an עת צרה like this. Communities across the United Stated have opened their doors and offered to house families who are evacuating. Can you imagine welcoming people into your home with no knowledge of how long they will be staying? Maybe a few days? Maybe longer. Atlanta, Baltimore, New York- galvanizing and sending out open invitations to anyone needing a place.

Not far behind are the communities readying supplies and manpower – ready to head to Florida the minute the storm leaves in order to provide help in any way possible.

Hand in hand is the achdus of the various Hatzalahs and other emergency organizations across America forming teams to help (even remotely during the storm) with answering phones, giving out information, preparing for medical intervention if Chas V’Shalom it is needed. מי כעמך ישראל!

Finally, as I prepare to evacuate myself and I start pondering what I should take with me, I realize how unimportant the material things we possess are.

As we pack a few basic necessities, along with important papers and documents and prepare to leave, we look around and realize that everything else can be replaced. Someone told me that I needed to make sure to take my “precious possessions” with me and I assured her that I was since all of my children and my husband will be leaving with me.

We continue to daven that the storm (which is right on a course that has the eye of the storm hitting Miami directly), turns drastically and does not wreak havoc and devastation. We continue to daven that we somehow got the messages Hashem is sending us and that is the zechus of all the chesed beign done, our communities will be spared a direct hit from this very powerful storm.


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  1. “What am I supposed to learn from it? What are we, as a community, supposed to learn from this?”

    When a public tragedy like this or the Solomon family in Neve Tzuf murdering happens it is Hashem talking straight to us waiting for us to gather together as 1 loving nation and do teshuva (not the personal Yom Kippur teshuva but the public teshuva of return of achdus-on all levels from drum to reform to chassidish etc….-and ahavas yisroel)

    How many horrific tragedies occur on a daily basis to our loving brethren worldwide? Why have we not woken up and started doing teshuva together? It shocks me… I beg my brother’s in klal yisroel. We need to end this time of non-stop horrific tragedies.

    The situation is so bad. To help you understand with a parable. How many thousands of accidents have happened with texting and driving? Do you know ANYONE that has stopped texting while driving? We are laughing in Hashems face and saying ha ha you can’t get me to stop texting unless you make something happen to me C”V. that’s how bad it’s gotten.

    I beg my loving brethren worldwide to gather together now in Elul and prepare for teshuva with Achdus so all tzaros can come to a final halt and Mashiach can finally come.

    Your brother in pain

  2. It is amazing that you are only looking to learn and to grow from this major scare, upheaval, and worry. Yet you not even thinking of kvetching or complaining, you are just looking to focus on the reall message here, to grow, and help others grow – I am truly inspired by your post, and know that you will inspire many more ( i don’t inspire so easily unfortunately……)on your kabbala of this b’simcha, appreciating all the good Hashem gives us…..May we all do richtige emesa tshuva – and b’achdus be mekabel pnei mashiach b’karov mamush.

  3. Miriam – great letter, Thanx for the insights. It definitely is interesting, 2 weeks after the eclipse of the century, 1 huge record-breaking rain in Houston, Fifty inches !! FIFTY !! , and now a record-breaking hurricane coming to FL. MAybe it IS a wake-up call. Shana Tova !!

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