This week we read about the first seven plagues inflicted upon the Egyptians for Pharaoh’s refusal to let the Israelites go free.
Yonah Johnson, a student at the Conservative Yeshivah in Jerusalem, pointed out that while the Torah often refers to the plagues as “miracles” and “wonders”, they were most certainly disasters in the experiences of the everyday Egyptians in the story who couldn’t possibly have known about the drama between Moses, Aaron, and Pharaoh.
We live in a time of natural disasters – summer and winter storms, floods, fires and landslides, especially this week when lives lost continue to be counted as Californians attempt to dig out from the latest in a series of calamities. Puerto Ricans are still without power more than three months after Hurricane Maria.
Are humans responsible for natural disasters?
We are not solely responsible.
Can we stand stubbornly against acknowledging that we influence nature?
We must admit that our actions and inactions make a difference in the intensity of natural disasters, and the severity of their impacts on our communities.
Let us learn from the hard-hearted and stubborn Pharaoh, and not follow his example.
Let us acknowledge that we face enormous weather-based challenges. We must learn to do differently so that we can survive and thrive together.
Wishing everyone a wonderful week, and a Shabbat Shalom to come,