Geula-Related Recent Links

Friday, August 18, 2023

Lahaina, Yellowknife, and Tenerife

A couple thoughts about the disaster in Hawaii that claimed so many lives.  The loss is unimaginable.  

The following is just some observations.  I don't judge to say who is wicked - that is up to HKB"H.  But let's see what Tanach says.

As we know, the fires spread via high winds which were initiated by Hurricane Dora many miles away.

The following verse from Barechi Nafshi comes to mind:

ד  עֹשֶׂה מַלְאָכָיו רוּחוֹת;    מְשָׁרְתָיו, אֵשׁ לֹהֵט.4 Who makest winds Thy messengers, the flaming fire Thy ministers.

עֹשֶׂה מַלְאָכָיו רוּחוֹת;    מְשָׁרְתָיו, אֵשׁ לֹהֵט. = 2403

שרפת להיינה במאווי בהוואי בארה"ב ביום כ"א מנחם אב התשפ"ג = 2403

Here's another verse from Yeshaya that seems to give the order of events: storm then fire, even though there is agreement that this verse is referring to the downfall of Ashur:

ו  מֵעִם יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת תִּפָּקֵד, בְּרַעַם וּבְרַעַשׁ וְקוֹל גָּדוֹל; סוּפָה, וּסְעָרָה, וְלַהַב, אֵשׁ אוֹכֵלָה.6 There shall be a visitation from the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire.

Another verse that comes to mind from Iyov:

יג  לֶאֱחֹז, בְּכַנְפוֹת הָאָרֶץ;    וְיִנָּעֲרוּ רְשָׁעִים מִמֶּנָּה.13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it?

Note the word וינערו, which is commonly translated as shaken.  But, given the context, it could be similar to נעורת של פשתן (tow of flax), which is something that burns easily.  See Yeshaya 1:31, for example.

Hawaii is at the ends - or corner - of the earth.  Especially if we consider the International Dateline the dividing point of the earth, Hawaii is near the westernmost point of the earth.

(As an aside, the previous verse in Iyov (verse 12) refers to the sun as being the subject of what this verse (verse 13) is referring to.  See the commentaries on the verse like the Malbim and others. And Rashi on this verse says it's referring to the future.  As the blogger Shirat Devorah mentioned in a comment, the word Lahaina means "cruel sun" in Hawaiian.) 

Similarly, Yellowknife, in Canada's Northwest Territories is probably the Northernmost decent-sized city in Canada.  The entire city is being evacuated right now due to a large fire. This can also be considered a corner of the earth due to its far-northern location.

Also, in the Canary Islands, the island of Tenerife has a fire that is out of control.  Thousands are being evacuated right now.  This too can be deemed a corner of the earth as it is near the westernmost part of the Eastern Hemisphere.

Major fires in these locations

Three of the ארבע כנפות הארץ were recently or are currently burning.

May Hashem save us from this destruction, but at the same time, we should know a possible reason why it's happening.