Searching for Meaning of the Fire
B"H, the fire was put out with the help of HKB"H, who sent many nations to help the Jewish people in our time of need.
While the fires were raging, Rav Amar issued a Pesak Halacha that Hashem should annul the decree of the fire. This eventually was successful. But people want to know why it happened to begin with.
As Batya says:
It is all so clear to me that this fire is part of G-d's punishment because of how we, as a nation, country, people are sinning.But punishment for what?
Rav Ovadia Yosef quoted the gemara that said that fires are due to Shabbat desecration and that those who live in the affected areas should do Teshuva - especially in the area of Shabbat observance.
Rav Lefkowitz said:
It's written in Eicha "He poured out His wrath and ignited a fire". When Am Yisrael isn't awakened from the stoppage of rain, HKB"H brings wrath of fire. This happened in the middle of the days of Hanukka, which testifies to the will of Hashem that Am Yisrael should give over their souls and stand steadfast against all the decrees that are being renewed against those who learn Torah.Rav Shteinman said:
In recent days, we saw how the heads of the state were helpless against the forces of nature. It is incumbent upon us to strengthen our Emuna and to understand that "Ein Od Milevado" - there is nothing else besides Him - especially during these days of Hanukka.
Rav Edelshtein (Rosh Yeshiva of Ponevezh) said:
(After quoting the Gemara that fires only come from desecration of the Shabbat, he said:) We must strenghten ourselves, especially with Torah learning on Shabbat. Anything that occurs in this world, its purpose is to awaken Am Yisrael.Some want to attribute it to the Golden Calf Festival in Ein Hod, one of the worst-affected towns of the fire.
Rabbi Lazer Brody quotes a Midrash that talks about a fire outside Haifa before the End of Days. (I translated this Midrash in the comments of the previous post.) See Josh, Devorah, and Akiva on this, however.
See what Nava says too.
Now, one blogger doesn't think anyone should point to anything specific when a disaster occurs. To each his own. I'll stick with the Gedolim.
Update: I received an email that Esther Pollard spoke at an event saying that the main tragedy of the fire was near a prison - where prison guards were trying to rescue prisoners. This is perhaps to remind us of our own prisoner - Jonathan Pollard - who was abandoned by the State of Israel, she said. Update: see here.
Update 2: CosmicX has some more here:
Rabbi Dov Lior writes that the fire was Divine punishment for giving away parts of the land of Israel to terrorists.Kikar has more rabbis' opinions on the matter:
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu calls for soul searching on the individual and national level.
Rabbi Uri Sherki says that the fire was "yissurim shel ahava", and that it was in place of a potentially greater disaster.
- Rav Elyashiv said similar to Rav Ovadia that it had to do with Shabbat desecration.
- Rav Kanievsky said that it was due to "a great sin", but refused to elaborate.