December 30, 2004

The Tsunami Tragedy

There is no doubt that we have witnessed this past week a massive natural disaster. We call this an "Act of God". Was it? The world simply shifted a bit. That’s what the earth’s crust does. It has been doing it for eons. That was how it was designed, to expand and contract. Just as the universe has bits and pieces flying around that sometimes bump into each other, just as volcanoes erupt or hurricanes blow or the sun burns. The earth has to do what it was designed to do, and it becomes a tragedy only in that humans get in the way.

Perhaps we call these disasters Acts of God because they remind us of the limitations of human beings. We think we are in charge, that we have the technology to master the universe, but we don’t. We need reminding of our fallibility. We too often assume we have mastered nature, but it finds ways of reminding us Who is really in charge and what insignificant creatures we humans are in the wider scheme of life. Seeing those massive waves and walls of water reinforced my feeling of awe before the Divine force of our universe.

Of course, we who are fortunate to be untouched in a personal way must respond. I notice the local Chabad organization is doing a tremendous amount of relief work in Thailand. Also, Israel is once again providing manpower and material aid way in excess of countries far richer than it.

So give. It doesn't matter how little. A token will do. None of us can match the international agencies and none of them can match governmental aid. But even a pruta counts in God's eyes.

However, help ought to be channeled only through organizations one trusts and those that have a record of honest, non-political involvement. Whatever you do, don’t give money to the Red Cross or any other organization that discriminates against Israel and Jews!

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