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Rabbi’s Blog: After Shocks….

04/05/2024 02:19:13 PM


Dear OZ family,


By now everyone is talking about the 4.8 level earthquake that was measured in our area. This calls to mind the prophet Amos, who used natural events to relate the word of God to his people. He refers to earthquakes and tsunamis, (see chapter 9), as well as to a total eclipse of the sun (see Amos 8:9). Amos is not alive today, nor are any other prophets, but you don’t have to be a seer to feel that, we as a people need a wake-up call. Many people are scared about what faces us on the horizon, and liken these fears to what faced us just before the 6 Day War, or even the 30’s in Europe. We were surrounded by enemies, and saber-rattling from nations publicly declaring their intentions to destroy us. The world warned Israel in ‘67  to stand back and not take any pre-emptive action, and we were utterly defenseless in the 1930’s.


We don’t have prophets today, and decisions about what we need to do must be made by the experts. Regardless of whether or not anyone speaks with the prophetic voice today, we know that we are tasked with speaking the truth. Israel has kept civilian damage far below the levels of other similar conflicts. Israel has made millions of calls and texts, and has sent millions of emails precisely to move civilians away from combat, to the detriment of her own soldiers. The White House has clarified its recent demand for an immediate cease-fire to include the release of all hostages. Israel has immediately taken responsibility for the tragedy that took the lives of aid workers. This is in strong contrast to the American reaction to the killing of an entire family including 7 children, in Afghanistan in reaction to the killing of 13 soldiers. This was, for days called a righteous kill, before our government owned up to what really happened. Both cases are the tragic results of war, but let us not lose sight of who brought on the war.


The allies would not settle for anything less than total surrender of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, and in the same vein, for the same reasons, Israel cannot settle for anything less than the total surrender of Chamas. The pundits who want to force Israel into negotiations with Chamas, can do so from the comfort of their couches and computers across the ocean, while Israelis are continuously subject to barrages of missiles, and the hopes of terrorists of revisiting Oct. 7th again and again and again.


This Tuesday is Rosh Chodesh Nissan, a month of miracles. We know that seismic changes are all possible, because, as Abba Eban said, a Jew who doesn’t believe in miracles is not a realist. I must admit that I did not feel any of the tremors. Perhaps that’s because for the past few weeks, steeplejacks have been shaking the ground just outside my office at OZ. Heaven-forbid that we should become insensitive to our environment. The center of this earthquake was in Lebanon, New Jersey (I’m not making this up). God talks to us in many ways. Alas, we have no Amos’s to tell us what God is saying. Just after describing these natural events, he says that a famine is coming in the land, not a famine for food, nor a thirst for water, but to hear the word of God. Right now, let’s try to correct all the lashon hara the world speaks about Israel, as well as to stamp out the lashon hara we speak about each other. That’s a good start.


Shabbat Shalom

Stay well and healthy

Rabbi Allen Scwhartz


Rabbi Allen Schwartz

Congregation Ohab Zedek

118 West 95th Street | New York, NY  10025-6604

Phone 212.749-5150, ext 200 | Fax 212.663-3635



Wed, July 24 2024 18 Tammuz 5784