Saturday, January 15, 2011

Three critical Shabbatot

Fire on Mount Carmel, Dec. 2, taken from Kibbutz Harduf (Uri Barakat)

1. Friday, December 3, 2010 (25 Kislev): Israel enters Shabbat while the Fire on Mount Carmel continues to roar. The fire began Thursday, Dec. 2nd, on the eve of the first Night of Chanukah, 5771. It claimed 44 lives and burned 55,000 dunams. Many have drawn a connection between the 2010 Carmel fire and the biblical account Elijah the prophet bringing fire down on Mt. Carmel, especially since Elijah the prophet features prominently in accounts of the final redemption. Elijah's display of fire served as a demonstration of God's power in reaction to the people's tendency "waver between two sides."

2. Friday, December 31, 2010 (25 Tevet): Just before midnight US Central time, 500 Birds fall mysteriously from the sky in Beebe, Arkansas just before New Years' Eve. In Israel, this occurred during the morning prayer of Shabbat, Parashat Va'era, the portion of the Torah which recounts the Ten Plagues. In the next 24 hours, 100,000 fish were found dead in a river nearby in Arkansas, and thousands of birds fell from the sky in Bio Bio, Chile. Sudden, mass animal deaths ensued worldwide.

3. Friday, January 14, 2011, 1 p.m. US Central time (9/10 Shevat): 200 cows die in Wisconsin. As another blogger noted, this is the first incidence in which larger animals are affected by the animal deaths phenomenon. In Israel, this incident occurred during the evening meal of Shabbat, during which beef is traditionally eaten, Parashat B'Shalach.

Update: The Japan tsunami and the French attack on Libya also occurred on the Shabbatot, March 12th and March 19th.

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