Lessons Learned from Lake Delton
Over Shavu'ot, our community experienced fearsome weather, including Kolot Uvrakim (in this case, the Kolot were heard - not seen), but the biggest shock was the news that I heard after Shavu'ot - that Lake Delton was gone. Intense rain caused an embankment to overflow, which caused Lake Delton, the lake near the popular tourist attraction of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, to drain out into the Wisconsin River, moving entire homes along the way. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal puts it,
the breach...looked as if a giant paw had scooped out a handful of sand and trees.Video of the disaster
1) Jeremiah 5:22
הַאוֹתִי לֹא-תִירָאוּ נְאֻם-יְהוָה, אִם מִפָּנַי לֹא תָחִילוּ, אֲשֶׁר-שַׂמְתִּי חוֹל גְּבוּל לַיָּם, חָק-עוֹלָם וְלֹא יַעַבְרֶנְהוּ; וַיִּתְגָּעֲשׁוּ וְלֹא יוּכָלוּ, וְהָמוּ גַלָּיו וְלֹא יַעַבְרֻנְהוּThe Pasuk tells us that we fear Hashem, Who places sand as a border for the sea. If we are to fear Hashem for when things are working correctly, how much more so should we fear Him at times that they don't.
2) Ribbi Akiva didn't know much Torah, until one day, he noticed how small drops of water can make an indentation in stone. He proved from this that Torah can penetrate anyone's mind - even his own. The water-Torah metaphor is used frequently in Midrash, with the popular quote - אין מים אלא תורה - a reference to water refers only to Torah. Just as water is so powerful that it can even wash away land and uproot homes, our Torah gives enormous power to those who learn it. The fact that this occurred over Shavu'ot is not unnoticed.
3) I've been to Wisconsin Dells and Lake Delton a few times. I've gone on the ducks and to a few other attractions. Many of the attractions that are lake-related will not be operational this summer. We know that empires come and go (like Rome and Soviet Union), we know that ideas come and go (like Hellenism, facism and communism), and now we see that even lakes come and go (even without drought) literally down the drain. The only constants are Yisrael, Oraita, Vekudsha Berich Hu.
4) אין לנו על מי להשען אלא על אבינו שבשמיים applies now more than ever.