Reaching the bottom of the stairwell to our apartment building on our way for Shabbat breakfast at the local coffee shop, we were blocked. A wall of water that looked like the Jordan River had covered the entire neighborhood. “O Lord open a way that we can get our coffee and bagel,” we prayed!
It was impossible to get out of our building. Rain during the night had covered sidewalks and roads. People were walking on top of cars trying to get down the street. Others paddled on rafts.
Like most, we just stood there watching as the waters filled the coffee shop across the street and continued rising up our stairwell. There was a strange quiet in the streets, even for the Shabbat, like someone had thrown a wet blanket over the entire neighborhood. Neighbors came down to see the spectacle, but no one seemed angry or upset. We didn’t hear the usual complaining about the poor drainage systems the city has been promising to fix since “before King Herod” as the Israeli saying goes. No one seemed to care that we couldn’t get out of the house, drink our coffee or visit family or friends. We all stood captivated by the stillness of the waters that covered our world.
It’s funny how the same rains that we need and pray for so much can also be so risky. They bring needed blessings to our dry land but can also wash away a lot of things that are important to us. Watching the mighty waters take control of our lives left us thinking about what is really important, and what is not. It didn’t make us sad to think of what we were losing – coffee, cars or comfort – because in that moment we saw more clearly what we really need. The waters had cleared our minds.
Too much of a good thing?
Heavy rains flood the streets of Tel Aviv. pic.twitter.com/4dpPqrk3ej
— Israel Today (@israeltoday) January 5, 2020
“Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it,” King Solomon told us many years ago. (Song of Songs 8:7) He understood that when we live for what is important in life, things like love, family and charity, even the mighty waters cannot stop us. In fact, this Shabbat we saw that many waters can cleanse us from our vanities and clarify our priorities, if we allow ourselves to be emerged in His love.