Thoughts from Kollel KLAL

Earthquakes during the week of Parshas Yisro

This week there were a number of earthquakes that were felt in many places, and heard and talked about, all over the world. What message can we take from this? I’d like to suggest a thought based on the Yerushalmi.

The Yerushalmi[1] brings that when Dovid came to dig the foundations of the Bais HaMikdash, he dug around 1,500 amos, and he still did not reach the deep waters. At the end of the 1,500 amos, he found an earthenware vessel, as a flowerpot, and he wanted to pick it up. It raised up its voice and said, “Do not to take me away from here.” Dovid asked, “Why not?” It responded, “Because this covers the deep waters.” He asked, “Where are you from?” It responded, “From the time that Hashem’s voice was heard on Har Sinai, which said, ‘אנכי ה’ אלקיך, I am Hashem your G-d,’ the ground trembled as an earthquake, and the world was ready to sink. I was placed here to cover over the deep waters from washing away the world.” Even so, Dovid did not listen and he lifted it up. Immediately, the deep waters floated upward and was on the way to washing away the world. Achitofel was standing there and he thought to himself and said, “This way Dovid will be strangled, and afterwards, I will take over as king.” Dovid asked, “What is the law, can one write Hashem’s name on pottery and throw into the deep waters so that the waters should stop gushing forth, and stand in its place?” No one responded with an answer. Dovid said, “Whoever knows the answer and doesn’t say, will be strangled.” Achitofel made a kal v’chomer to himself and said, “If, in order to make peace between a man and his wife, the Torah states, ‘My name which is written with holiness shall be erased in the water,’ certainly, to make peace in the entire world, it may be erased!” Achitofel said, “Yes, it is permitted.” Dovid wrote a Shem on earthenware and threw it into the deep waters, and it stopped and stood in its place. Dovid then started to sing praise, and he sang 15 Shir HaMaalos’; one song for 100 steps up, for 100 amos, for all 15, a total of 1,500 amos. This is hinted in the word המעלות, which is comprised of “מאה מעלות, a hundred steps-amos,” per each of the Shir HaMaalos.

This week’s Parsha is Parshas Yisro, which is when Hashem said, “אנכי ה’ אלקיך, I am Hashem your G-d.” Just as when Hashem gave us the Torah, the world trembled, so too now Hashem sent earthquakes as explicit messages to remember, “I gave you the Torah, I took you out of Mitzrayim, and I am in charge of the world!”

Let us take the moment to instill in our hearts this hashgacha pratis, and make alive, Hashem gave us the Torah and He runs the world!


[1] סנהדרין פ’ י ה’ ב גמ’ מכות יא. ורש”י

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