Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thoughts about Haiti and the Plagues

We read this past Shabbos about the first group of plagues that beset Egypt as Moshe and Aharon were negotiating with Pharoah to release the Jewish people. It is hard not to compare those disasters so many years ago with the terrible and deadly disaster that just hit Haiti this past week. Both were literally acts of God and both were exacerbated by human folly - stubbornness and hard-heartedness on one hand, and poverty and an absence of effective building regulations on the other. Nevertheless, the way we understand the biblical account was that God using Egypt to display His might and there is an implication that God is punishing the Egyptians for their mistreatment of the Israelites. But what did the Haitians do to deserve a punishment of "Old Testament" proportions? Nothing that I know of. In that sense, we have to admit that in the face of God's might and power, that He is sometimes inscrutable. All that being said, on some level, this disaster is a test of the rest of world. Will we rise to the occasion? We will help these people that are in such desparate need? I hope the answer is yes. For those who are going to Haiti or are there already, our hearts are with you. For the rest of us, we must give and give generously. This is our moment to act. Let's not waste it.

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