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My personal reaction to this brutal decree is to work on my own respect for the Batei Knessiyos in which I daven; to increase my awe for the sanctity of the sanctuaries in which I pray. I must increase my awareness of the sacredness of tefillah, whereby I am being afforded a personal meeting with Hashem to beseech His mercy on all that ails my loved ones and me. Furthermore, I must increase my awareness that the Torah scroll is Hashem’s most treasured possession, and act accordingly in its presence. How much more so, must I be cognizant of this personal commitment as the calendar rapidly approaches Yom Kippur, my ultimate day of judgment!

What about those who continue to defile Hashem’s home? What about those who appear unaffected by the catastrophes wrought by Hurricane Sandy, even as the Day of Judgment is rapidly approaching? What should my response be to them? What message should they be inferring from Hashem’s decree? Why were some people tumultuously affected while others completely spared of the wrath of the hurricane? To paraphrase the discussion I had with the aforementioned leading rabbinical authority in Chicago; I’ll know when Rav Chaim Kanievsky or Rav Aryeh Leib Shteinman elucidates why Hashem brought Hurricane Sandy upon highly Jewish populated communities. Until then, I will continue to daven for the people that were affected – and for those who still fail to be affected!

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Shmuel Zundell, a second generation contributor to the Jewish Press, was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He received a Masters in Business Administration from New York University. He currently resides in Chicago with his wife and children.
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