Roy Neuberger - Sep. 13, 2019

As I write, it is Rosh Chodesh Elul, the first day of the Month of Elul.

Today we started blowing the shofar every morning after Shacharis services

 As I write, Hurricane Dorian is bearing down on the southeastern United States; evacuations have been ordered in coastal cities.


There is a holy Jew in Savanna, Georgia named Nosson Garfunkel, who walks around wearing a long beard and a long, black coat. His family goes way back. Would you believe that the Police Chief in Savannah from 1903 to 1907 was his grandfather, a Shomer Shabbos Yid named Charles Garfunkel!


We have family in Savanna, so it happened that, in August, 1999, on a steamy Friday night, Reb Nosson and I were walking home from Sheva Brachos. It was hot, and I mean hot! This is, after all, the Deep South. I remarked on the heat to Reb Nosson, and he told me a story.


“Some years ago, it was erev Rosh Hashanah, and it had been a similarly hot summer. That means a big hurricane season, because the ocean becomes very warm. Well, a huge hurricane was bearing down on Savannah and they gave out an evacuation order. But it was erev Rosh Hashana! How could my family and I jump in the car and head inland on this of all days?


“So I called my Rebbe, Rabbi Shlomo Freifeld zt”l, and I said, ‘Rebbe! They want us to evacuate! It’s erev Rosh Hashanah!  I don’t want to go!’


“My Rebbe told me, ‘Reb Nosson, you stay put! That hurricane is not going to hit within a hundred miles of Savannah!’


“That afternoon, the hurricane changed course. It hit land 107 miles north of Savannah! And I stayed put, right there in Savannah!”


Someone pointed out to me that the appearance of a hurricane on a weather chart resembles a shofar. I think that Hashem wants to remind us that, whatever happens in this world, it is from Heaven. The storms of life are extremely challenging, to the point of terrible danger and suffering. Somehow, we have to hear the shofar in the storm.


Redemption is Hashem’s plan. Nothing will deter it. Every event in life emanates from Hashem’s chessed. There is so much tragic news these days. The world seems to resemble a Category Five Hurricane about to slam into us.


We have to try not to be afraid. The Prophet tells us, “Hashem was passing, and a great powerful wind, smashing mountains and breaking rocks, went before Hashem. ‘Hashem is not in the wind.’ After the wind came an earthquake. ‘Hashem is not in the earthquake.’ After the earthquake came a fire. ‘Hashem is not in the fire.’ After the fire came a still, thin sound. … and behold, a voice [spoke] to him ….” (I Kings 19:”11ff)


May the words soon be fulfilled: “T’kah b’shofar gadol l’chairusainu,” when Hashem causes us to hear “the great Shofar for our freedom [and raises] the banner to gather our exiles … from the four corners of the earth.” The last blessing in Shemoneh Esreh is “Shalom.” We can weather the storm by clinging to Hashem’s Torah. May He soon “establish peace, goodness, blessing, graciousness, kindness and compassion upon us and upon all of [His] people Israel!”


Charles Garfunkel, Superintendent of Police, Savannah, Georgia 1903-1907


Recent Posts


repentance Avraham Noah idolatry judgement Tu b'Av bird Sages prophets Ruth hubris Prophecy eternal Golden Calf angels Western Wall Joseph kinneret Rebbe logic Day of Atonement Rashi Holiness ethics Gog media Earth pray High Holy Days holy Lot tears brotherhood yarmulke Chafetz Chaim Samuel meraglim Babylonia sun Pinchas Golan Banias Sodom Hashem Holocaust Babylon Teshuva heaven Ishmeal Malbim materialism kosher Rosh Hashana Tefillin rosh chodesh Jewish festival Canaan Miriam Dead Sea Raiders of the Lost Ark Haman exile Shavuos patriarchs fear Day of Judgement terrorist evolution kiddush minyan Maccabeans Isaiah patriarchs'matriarchs redemption Ashkenazi tremors Repentence Second Temple missiles persecution Chofetz Chaim Eve Rabbi Akiva Boaz Master of the Universe Europe Terror Attack in Jerusalem eternity mitzvos tabernacle idol Rebecca paradise Nation of Israel death Chol haMoed prayers violence spiritual Adam Samuel the Prophet India Moab Miraglim Red Heifer Moshiach Laban culture Purim Holy Ark prophet Samuel Talmud Baku chessed Torah scholars sanctity Geula incense sacrifices Rosh Hashanah holiday rain Edom Zion End of Days secret Leah yeshiva miracle Shabbos Psalms war Red Sea Mordechai Moshe earthquake Sephardi Blame matzos Zohar bris milah Ammon Galil slaves Mount Zion Temple Mount Maimonides Ezekiel prayer book heavenly throne Temple fires Beit Hamikdash automobiles Parsha peace King Solomon cries Children of Israel Faith tablets Angel of Death Hebrew David Yom Kippur prayer terrorists Divine presence creation night Matisyahu Zechariah Sukkah siddur Benjamin Mount Hermon pain danger Tisha b'Av evil shofar Jeremiah redeemer prophet messiah Western World moon spies priests Moshaich cholent mikveh Rachel flood sin compassion Jews Shushan keys darkness 2020 Vision miracles Garden of Eden Amalek bible gossip Genesis Judgement Day Passover Seder Abrahem Aharon Rome locusts King of the Universe spirituality Judaism purity Achashveirosh Mount Sinai terrorism synagogue United Nations Jewish holidays rabbi Amram Jew Father in Heaven Yaakov Midrash dreams blessing menorah Passover Protective edge king King David Jerusalem terror Sefiras haOmer slavery Tzuk etan forefathers Song of Songs esrog New Moon Land of Israel song Lunar eclipse Ishmael Israel Moses Matriarchs biblical deluge Tu b'Shvat light leprosy Judah self-worship Heavenly Mercy Final redemption Macabees Elul Bilaam repent Yerushalayim alone stars Hasmoneans Torah portion Sea of Galilee salvation trees mitzva Greeks kesuba survival lights Exodus Sukkos Torah G-d Chanukkah ancestors Ten Commandments resurrection heavenly gates fault Bais Hamikdosh Tallis barley evil inclination soul chaos Esau Zion, Angel Shechina God Psalm Sarah Hagar Jacob Egypt Chanukah plague Solar eclipse High Priest shmittah Eglon Solomon Holy Temple murder America Abraham Balak Rabbis Ishamael Magog world to come angel enemies Sabbath Pharaoh fragrance three weeks Esther water shield of Abraham Isaac Jewish seder stones liberation Golus Jewish People mikveh, Sabbath Creator commandment Holy land