From the Fireline

Prof. Menachem Kellner at the University of Haifa has been sending updates from the area to a list of friends. This one came in just before Shabbos began in Israel. It struck me as capturing much of the poignancy of the tragedy.

An hour to candle-lighting…I cannot figure out why, but the fate of Haifa Police Chief Ahuvah Tomer weights heavily on the Kellners and we pray to hear good news about her after shabbat…she is suffering from burns over 80% of her body…she exemplifies the ethos of the Israeli army (and police): “Follow me!” not: “Go there.”

For years, we Israelis have gotten used to sending aid to countries stricken by natural disasters; now that the shoe is on the other foot, it is heart-warming to read of all the assistance coming in: from Jordan, from Turkey (!), from Greece (I hope the Turks and Greeks do not run into each other here in Israel), 80 firefighters from Bulgaria (of all places…), and many more places.

The fire is far from under control, but for the moment no further evacuations are planned — we hope and pray that the evacuees find their homes standing when allowed to return home (and that my PhD student who has busy saving sifrei Torah instead of his computer finds his almost completed doctoral dissertation intact!).

A nephew started basic training in an elite commando unit yesterday … may God watch over him and all of us.

He who said to oil to burn can make vinegar burn (Gemara)

May He who said to trees to burn make them not burn, and heal those precious neshamos who have been burnt

May He who made an insufficient amount of oil burn for eight days take an abundant amount of fuel and snuff out the fire that feeds on it

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5 Responses

  1. Pinchas Steinberg says:

    Quite a coincidence….2000 years after the original chanukah, the Greeks are the first to offer aid to help put out the fire destroying Israel….I’m not quite sure what, if anything, this means.

  2. dovid 2 says:

    Ahuva bas _________?

  3. Harry Maryles says:

    Evangelical preacher Pastor John Hagee composed a marvelous prayer.It too is very poignant:

    Father God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we call upon You to intervene on behalf of Your people, Israel. We humbly ask that You comfort those that mourn for their precious loved ones who are injured or have lost their lives in the midst of the raging fires.

    It is You Lord God who sends help to those in distress; deliver Your Chosen from the path of the consuming blaze and lead them to complete safety. We ask that You place Your supernatural protection over those who have put their lives in danger to bring this raging fire that has come against Israel to an end.

    Lord God of Israel we call upon You to protect Your land which You have given to Your people as their inheritance. It is You who controls the sun and the stars, the wind and the rain; we call upon You to bring the wind to a standstill so that this intense fire will not increase and ask You to quench its flames with Your miraculous rain just as You did for Elijah.

    May the enemies of Israel be kept powerless by Your mighty hand while she is in a time of trouble for You are her Rock and her Fortress and You dwell in her palaces; Your presence surrounds Israel like a shield.

    We give You thanks with grateful hearts for the miracles that You will perform on behalf of the Jewish people and the land of Israel for You are her refuge and her strength and a very present help in trouble. Amen

  4. yehudis says:

    Strangely enough, the techinah for Shabbos Mevorchin Teves is all about fires–this coming month was when Avraham Avinu was saved from the burning furnace. In it, we plead with Hashem to save all of the Jewish people from fires in the homes and on their property, and that we should only feel a fiery yearning for Hashem in our hearts, the fires of the Chanukah candles.

  5. Mordechai Y. Scher says:

    Bulgaria of all places.

    Bulgaria, interesting enough, protected ‘their’ Jews during WW II. Not foreign Jews on their soil; but Bulgarian Jews. My onetime neighbor, fellow paramedic, and anthropologist Guy Haskell wrote his dissertation on the subject. ‘From Sofia to Jaffa – The Jews of Bulgaria and Israel’.

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