Passing Through Fire

Israel’s religious community sees God’s providence, and His call to repentance in recent wildfires

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While Israel is still trying to assess the damage caused by hundreds of fires across the country, testimonies of people whose lives were spared begin to surface. 

Yated Ne’eman, the daily newspaper of the Israeli-Lithuanian ultra-Orthodox school, has published in its November 29 issue a special article highlighting what it sees as God’s providence in protecting people in miraculous ways. Not surprisingly, Yated Ne’eman brings the stories of members of the religious community who went through the fire.

Rabbi Moshe Adler, CEO of United Hatzalah of Haifa (an Orthodox Jewish “Red Cross” equivalent), who worked alongside the firefighters, said that nothing of what happened should be taken for granted. “There were obvious miracles here,” he said. “People were experiencing miracles amid great tribulation. We should recognize it and give thanks to God. We have seen God’s providence with our own eyes.” 

Jews, by the way, are commanded to proclaim God’s miracles, as it is said, “give praise to the Lord … tell of all his wonderful acts.” This is why during the coming feast of Hanukkah people walking through religious neighborhoods will be able to note the burning candles of the Menorah placed by the windows to proclaim the miracle of the Temple’s rededication at the time of the Maccabees.

Rabbi Rosenberg recalls his mother-in-law’s miracle. “The whole apartment was completely burnt,” he said, “except one thing –  the Menorah.” A paramedic of United Hatzalah told Yated Ne’eman how he had to use a garden hose to contain the fire. “This was an obvious miracle,” he said, “that our building didn’t burn … it was divine providence. There is no other way to explain it. It wasn’t in the natural power of the garden hose to contain the fire.”

These and other similar stories brought the newspaper to conclude that “these tribulations did not happen by chance, rather it was a warning from heaven for the people on earth, that they may repent.”      


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