Hearing the Hurricane: A Pre-Rosh Hashanah Message


With Hurricane Dorian currently pounding the south-eastern United States, is there any message Judaism teaches we can learn from this event? Thanks, and I wish the best for everyone!

11 months


  1. Yes, there is much we can learn. With any new hurricane I am reminded of the following story from the aftermath of Katrina. Outstanding among the many outpourings of generous relief for the victims of the hurricane Katrina disaster was the anonymous gift made by a Holocaust survivor.

    A 90-year old man walked into a U.S. diplomatic office, presented an envelope containing 1,000 Euros (about $1,240 at the time) and declared that he was contributing this to the U.S. for hurricane relief as a way of repaying his debt to the Americans for liberating him from a concentration camp.

    “This is a selfless act by somebody who is repaying what was a deeply felt debt of gratitude to the Unites Sates,” said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. “This is a person who is not seeking any publicity for this act, which in the time we live makes it even more extraordinary.”

    Also, with the hurricane being right before Rosh Hashanah this year, the following idea comes to mind. The Rambam writes: “Wake up you slumberers from your deep sleep, examine your behavior, repent your sins and remember your Creator.” This is the message of the shofar’s sound, he writes, to those who forget the truth as a result of being preoccupied with transient, meaningless matters.

    This message of the shofar was written by Rambam about the shofar sounds we make on Rosh Hashanah. The widespread custom, however, is to sound the shofar after the morning service for an entire month before Rosh Hashanah in order to wake us up to the need to properly prepare for the Awesome Days of Judgment which are approaching.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team