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On Storms and Earthquakes

East Coasters have storms. Hurricanes, tornadoes, rain, snow, blizzards. They get it all. The wind, the downed power lines, the trees fall, the electricity goes out, and the basements flood. It’s bad.

Here on the West Coast, we get earthquakes. No warning. Suddenly the earth shakes, and bookshelves go flying, dishes fall out of cabinets, picture frames collapse, dressers fall down, freeways fall. It’s bad.

G-d controls the world, and natural disasters are part of our world. What do we learn from them? How do we prepare? There are ways to prepare ourselves for natural disasters, and we would be wise to listen to the experts and take those steps, for long term preparation for earthquakes. Short term preparation for when a hurricane is coming.

But at the end of the day, there is not much we can do. We have to trust that G-d runs the world. G-d will take care of us. Can we control our storms within ourselves? Can we control the earthquakes within our pysches? Can we control the tempest that rules us when we are upset, angry or anxious? These are questions I often ask myself.

These are things I can possibly control and work on. My character traits, my behavior, my actions, are all facets of my life that I know I can take charge of – and aim to quiet the roaring within me, and stay calm and relaxed.

That it the ultimate goal – for me, and probably for each one of us – taming the tempest within our souls.

The aftermath of a recent storm, Hurricane Sandy – has created many problems for the Northeastern  U.S. – lack of power, lack of water, schools are out, subways are not running, gas stations are low on fuel. Lots of issues. How do they —- and we— remain calm when the storm has calmed, but the anxieties remain? That is the question. My heart goes out to those in the East Coast, and I pray that they can handle their tests that are coming to them in the future days with calm and resolve. I know they will. East Coasters are tough!

Shaking Things Around

This morning I woke up to some messages from friends, “did you feel it? did you feel it?” A few said they didn’t feel it. Others said they lost a whole night of sleep, but no damage otherwise.  Still others wanted to know what in the world we were all talking about.

I felt it, and felt it big. It could have been in my own backyard for all I knew.

“It” was an earthquake. Epicentered near Beverly Hills, a few miles from where I live.  Only a 3.2 – which for Southern California standards, that’s pretty low and unimpressive. But nevertheless worthy of mentioning during the time of Ellul, the month before Rosh Hashanah,  when we need to shake ourselves out of our complacency and oblivion, and get down to brass tacks of fixing up our ways – both to G-d and to our fellow man.

So the fact that it was a small one is a kindness. Some say the “Big One” is coming….and it’s only a matter of time. To me that’s a scary notion, and it makes me want to prepare and prepare (water, batteries, canned food…huh? what else?).

But for now the real preparation is for the Big Day in a few weeks when we will stand before our G-d in prayer on Rosh Hashanah. Praying for a sweet new year. For a non-shaking year…

Sometimes we need to shake things up, change and better ourselves down here, so that G-d shakes things up for us in a good way for the coming year. May we all have a sweet, happy,  and healthy New Year. And safe.

Shaking and Quaking

It happened at 3 am. My husband and I felt it. The rest of our house did not feel a thing. “It” is a rather common occurrence here in California.  It was an earthquake – short, sharp and quick, but an unmistakable earthquake. We know our earthquakes, and yes – this was a real one. Whew. No seeming damage. It’s over. Thank G-d. Continue reading

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