Rav Shteinman Talks About Hurricane Irene
Hakadosh Boruch Hu brought a mabul to the world and, after the mabul, He vowed never to bring another mabul upon the entire world, but on part of the world He would bring [a mabul]. Recently, what happened in America, that there was a large scale storm, is considered a mabul in that specific place, with torrential rains and powerful winds. In the mabul [of Noach's times], there was hot water, while in this instance there was not, but it was ‘mei’ein a mabul‘ (a small-scale mabul).
As for lemaaseh, it comes to awaken and inspire us, especially during these days, which are the days of Elul. Rav Yisroel Salanter said - I heard that Rav Naftali Amsterdam said it in his name - that if a person dies a sudden death, then for three days one need not learn mussar [because of the impact of the tragic event]. Here, that such events happened, both the powerful winds and also the tragedies in which people were murdered in Eretz Yisroel and in chutz la’aretz, this comes to awaken us to be mechzeik ourselves in preparation for the Yom Hadin. In fact, we are already in Elul, but the truth is that we view it as if the day of judgment is maybe fifty years away or so, and therefore [Hakadosh Boruch Hu] has come to arouse us that we should be mischazeik in preparation for the Yom Hadin, Rosh Hashanah, habah aleinu letovah.