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Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Great Yerushalayim Blizzard of 5547

The Yisbe'u Mituvecha newsletter brings down a couple sources from Sefarim that describe the Great Yerushalayim Blizzard of 5547 (1787).

The first can be found in Birkot Mayim.  I noticed that there was already a translation of his words at a post about this storm at the Muqata from a couple years ago so look there.

The second can be found in Mekor Yisrael, where he says the following (my translation):
It is currently the year 5547.  There was a drought and before Hanukka, they instituted 3 fasts and we fasted.  And on the 12th of Shevat, it was a Wednesday, and a stormy wind started, followed by snow.  And it snowed that entire day and Thursday and Friday - there was nothing like it.  The doorways and windows were blocked and they could not leave the doorways of their homes.  And many people were almost in a state of Piku'ah Nefesh.  And on Shabbat Kodesh, it was Tu Bishvat, and the 4 synagogues in Yerushalayim did not open, they did not pray, and they did not read the Torah at all - except for a Hasidic synagogue, where about 3 Minyanim [of people] gathered and they took out the Sefer Torah and read it.  And there were 5 Mitzvot [i.e. to bury 5 people who died] - some on Friday and some from Shabbat to Sunday - using the money of both Jews and Gentiles - until they paved a path for them to be brought to the cemetery, and they buried them in the cave that is next to Zecharia Hanavi.  And the Istambuli Synagogue was destroyed, and on the following Monday, they started to burn the snow, wood, and stones.  And on Shabbat Parshat Yitro, we did it so that they read Parshat Beshalah and Parshat Yitro in one shot.  See the book Emet LeYaakov p. 2 and p. 37 in the name of Maharikash.  And nevertheless, we read 2 Parshiyot, and I decided in my mind to read for the Kohen's Aliya - Parshat Beshalah and 3 verses from Yitro, and then the day's obligation of Parshat Yitro.

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