The East Coast Earthquake

Yehuda Levin, always humbly available to speak for G-d whether or not he has been asked, has determined the cause of the East Coast earthquake. Readers of the Huffington Post now have direct access to the Mind of G-d, compliments of His obedient servant. They now know that the culprit was gay marriage.

I have an alternative theory, although I do not claim to have Levin’s gift of prophecy. I think that the earthquake was caused by G-d gunning for Levin – and missing.

Fully recognizing the theological absurdity of the preceding sentence (it would cross a line into the realm of heresy if meant seriously), it still is more attractive than any of Levin’s public pronouncements.

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21 Responses

  1. Raymond says:

    I could be wrong, but it is my understanding that natural disasters such as earthquakes are not so much a direct consequence of any specific Biblical transgression, as much as G-d’s way of reminding us that He exists.

  2. Menachem Lipkin says:

    Talk about missing. The quake was centered in Virginia. Virginia bans gay marriage.

  3. dr. bill says:

    i appreciate your humor and i wish only an isolated rabbi spoke as yehudah levin does. unfortunately, there are other examples, by far more prominent rabbis, who make similar assertions. when they do not receive a similar response, the consequences are yet more negative.

  4. Mark says:

    There’s no shortage of theodicy out there. And Levin is the poster boy for it.

  5. YEA says:

    As a proud (politcal) conservative, I am greatly saddened that Rabbi Levin is so visibly involved in conservative causes, especially against abortion. There is no better way to promote abortion and the idea that homosexuality is just a normal variant than to have some lunatic as the face of the opposing movements.

    I heard him on the radio a couple of years ago. He spoke about his great revulsion for Shalom Task Force’s “It hurts to call a domestic abuse hotline. It hurts more not to” ad. Apparently, this ad contains the worst type of heresy imaginable. I’m not quite sure why, but to the best of my recollection, it had something to do with the ad’s mentioning professional help before it mentioned rabbinic guidance. This took place just before the Lipa concert was banned, and he expressed his negative feelings about the concert (in an obnoxious, derisive manner, as is his wont). I’ve always wondered if he had anything to do with the ban.

    The fact that Rabbi Levin, a pathetic, attention-seeking nobody, can get his message out with such ease to such a widespread audience, highlights the importance of having eloquent spokespeople on behalf of mainstream, normative Orthodox Judaism.

  6. Guy in Israel says:

    Some eight years ago or so, there was a minor earthquake here in Israel that caused almost no damage (though apparently there was a slight crack in the Knesset building). In the ensuing days, I heard/read 3 different “pshatim” for why God did this:

    1) A woman from a West Bank settlement wrote a poem stating that Eretz Yisrael was shaking because of plans for leaving Gaza. (Never mind that the quake was felt in other Mideast countries).

    2) An MK from Shas said that it happened because of homosexuality.

    3) Hamodia had a short piece basically saying that it was because of the 2003 economic reforms which cut funding for charedim.

    In other words, whatever your beef is, that’s why God did this.

    What’s wrong with saying that we just don’t understand? Since when does Judaism purport to give reasons for everything that happens?

  7. Shalom says:

    While I don’t agree with those who seek to attribute a particular cause for G-d’s decision to send earthquakes and the like, He does want to get our attention, as was mentioned. Once He has our attention what should we do? Introspection. Now, people have difficulty with that and Rabbis who approach the pulpit rightfully want to help them with that. The Rabbis offer suggestions and many of these “Pshatim” of why there was an “Act of G-d” are just suggestions for things to improve and should be taken as such. There are fanatics who present the Pshatim as prophecies and if that’s what they really meant then we have every right to dismiss them and look for constructive improvement.

  8. Steve Brizel says:

    RYK had a famous comment about a certain rav who engaged in theodicy based Hashkafic insights. The linked comment merely underscores the Talmud’s strong comment about who possesses Nvuah in our time.

  9. Mr. Cohen says:

    Jerusalem Talmud, tractate Berachot, chapter 9, law 2, page 64A:
    Rabbi Acha taught:
    [Earthquakes happen] because of homosexuality.

    Midrash Rabah, Parshat Bereshit, Chapter 26, Paragraph 5:
    Rabbi Huna taught in the name of Rabbi Yosef:
    The Generation of the Flood was not blotted out
    of the world until they made official marriage contracts
    between people of the same gender…

  10. Menachem Lipkin says:

    “[Earthquakes happen] because of homosexuality.”

    Earthquakes happen, literally, every day all over the world. In an average year there are around 1300 earthquakes of magnitude 5.0-5.9, like the one centered in Virginia, and there are many more lesser quakes. Earthquakes are a necessary part of the way the Earth was designed to function.

    Are these thousands of earthquakes “targeted” at places where homosexuality is more accepted or practiced? How do we deal the fact that, geologically, earthquakes are caused by the motion of tectonic plates? It’s pretty well known (sorry Rabbi Adlerstein) that the “big one” is going to wipe out Southern California sooner or later. Do we believe that if we get all the gay people in California into “conversion therapy” and “fixed” them that this earthquake wouldn’t happen?

    Unless Rabbi Levin and his ilk have Nevuah (which, by definition, they can’t) and know the answers to these and so many other questions, they really should keep such thoughts to themselves as they only serve to create a Chillul Hashem.

  11. Reply to Mr. Cohen says:

    Dear Mr. Cohen,

    Your knowledge in Jewish literature discussing and condemning homosexuality is very impressive!
    But, looking into the Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud) which you mentioned, you can see that it is a three way argument. How does “Yehuda Levin” have the power and courage to take part and rule according to Rav Acha??? You have Shmuel saying that the earthquake is to pause/stop the Goverment (The Malchut) ie. stop Obama and even more so, you have Rabanan (and we “Zil Batar Ruba”) say its due to disagreements and arguments (Machaloket) which “Yehuda Levin” contributes to!!!

    In regards to Midrash Rabah, It discuses floods, not earthquakes.

  12. Bob Miller says:

    There’s a tension between:

    1. HaShem’s ways are above our comprehension.

    2. HaShem sends us personal or collective messages through events.

    Simplistic attempts to negate or obscure one of these facts, in favor of the other, can miss the mark.

  13. Ori Pomerantz says:

    I agree with Bob Miller. But I also think that Yehuda Levin should get a court appointed guardian. If he claims to know why G-d does things, he claims to be a Navi. Since the temple was destroyed, prophecy was given to the insane. So by his own admission, he is not competent to manage his own affairs.

  14. Observer says:

    I’m not sure why anyone is surprised by what this guy has to say – I don’t think that there has been a single tragedy or catastrophe that he has not declared to be directly due to homosexuality. His most recent was a declaration (you can find it on youtube if you have the stomach) that Leibly Kletzky was murder because of the gay marriage act in NYC. How could he pass up an opportunity like this, where there is even a statement that he can (mis)use?!

  15. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    Not theodicy, the-idiocy.

  16. Binyomin Eckstein says:

    The way Maharal might explain it is that Hashem created a world with earthquakes as part of its reality, according to that opinion in Chazal, due to the foreseen existence of homosexuality. Only a Navi can know what message a particular earthquake might send to a particular locale. But it is true that opinions in Chazal consider the following a valid statement: homosexual behavior is reason for the existence of earthquakes.

  17. DF says:

    What you have quoted in the name of Rabbi Levin – [a man I personally have never heard of, for the record] is no different than, and in the same tradition of, the talmudic sages ascribing the destruction of the first Temple to idolatary and incest, and the second Temple to sinas chinam. Imagine someone today saying the Holocuast occured because of loshon hora. Absurd! – yet that is exactly what the talmudic sage said about the “holocaust” of their own generation (mut mut). As Rambam says, it’s not the Jewish way to ascribe such events to random acts of “nature” (mikreh), even though intelectually we know, in fact, that this is precisely the case. Rather, we try to draw a lesson from it. Sounds like R. Levin is taking that Rambam to heart, in trying to speak out against public immorality. After all, it’s a lot easier to sit back and criticize him, rather than have the courage to stand up and take a stand as he apparently does.

  18. A. Schreiber says:

    I dont understand. I just read all the comments above. Half of them cite passages where chazal had no problem declaring reasons for every occurence, from earthquakes to the Roman Empire’s seige of Jerusalem. The other half, and Rabbi Adlerstein, take Rabbi Levin to task for trying to find a reason for the hurricane. So I dont understand. Someone above responds to “Mr. Cohen” by saying Rabbi Levin is not Rabbi Acha. But why? Aren’t we, as orthodox Jews, supposed to be following the lead of chazal? Don’t we follow their practices and customs, even though as orthodox Jews we believe chazal were greater than us? Yiftach Bidoro Kishmuel Bidoro. If so, I see nothing wrong, and everything right, about trying to discern the reason behind tragedy. Anyone who has a problem with this ought to take a long hard look inside his soul to see if its really not a problem with chazal.

  19. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    DF cites the Rambam that the Jewish way is to “draw a lesson” from natural disasters. However, Rabbi Levin, rather than draw a lesson, just states what he believes anyway. He draws no personal lesson, he just uses a natural disaster to reassure himself (and remind us) that he has been right all along. To draw a lesson he would have to show some introspection, some self-examination. He doesn’t. He just repeats the same positions he held previously. It is an old and honored (if not necessarily honorable) practice in Klal Yisroel – we blame our misfortunes and those of the world on our ideological opponents.

  20. YM says:

    The question I have is, is it our responsibility as Orthodox Jews to speak out against homosexuality and gay marriage, or it is ok for us to stay relatively low profile on this issue. Note: I am not asking this of the other commenters, I would want to know what our Rabbinical Leaders think about this.

  21. newcomer says:

    Kudos to mr schrieber, if your not comfortable with trying to attribute events as a result of our actions,you might want to pick a new strain of judaism to is fundamental basic orthodox judaism to believe that everything happens for a reason.the only gripe I can fathom is the certainty in which these declarations are made.please answer honestly,would it placate you had levin said”we don’t know for certain g-ds ways,but it is possible that the the gruesome sin of gay behavior caused this event and we need to strengthen our opposition to it in addition to working on our other shortcomings”?

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