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September 3, 2015 / 19 Elul, 5775
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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

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Baruch Hashem our communities are filled with children learning Torah and more than a handful of righteous persons. This is not to say that their mere presence in our midst exonerates transgressors, who should be moved by such catastrophes to search their hearts and do teshuvah.

Though our lives are ruled by a divine set of guidelines, the indecency and decadence that permeates the world at large serves at the least as a distraction, and at worst a contaminant that takes much fortitude and energy to steer clear of. This makes us ever more desperate for siyata d’Shmaya (heavenly guidance), and a calamity of the kind we just experienced moves us to cry out to Hashem for His help.

The Berdichiver Rebbe asked why it is that we do not read Megillas Antiochus on Chanukah; after all, we read Megillas Esther on Purim. According to Chazal, were we to read of the great wars the Chashmonaim waged against their powerful adversaries, some would entertain the notion that it was by the strength of our own hand that our enemy was vanquished — while in reality our triumph came directly from Hashem.

Each one of us is aware of our individual strengths and shortcomings, but in our day-to-day struggles we tend to lose sight of the loftier purpose to our existence. Along comes an upheaval, in the form of Hurricane Sandy in this instance, to shake us up to our vulnerability and our total reliance on Hashem.

Chanukah… what better time to absorb this lesson and see the light!

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