Just as God's world has its storms and seasons, so, too, our homes.
As I finished viewing one news clip where houses were being knocked down by bulldozers, I watched another, showing a tropical storm doing the same damage.
And I wondered: why are misfortunes befalling our homes?
Why a merciful God decreed and allowed these things to happen is beyond our comprehension. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9). It is not for us to give or suggest reasons for the sad and bad things that transpire in the world.
But it is for us to offer solutions. To share in the pain of those who have lost their loved ones, their homes and their livelihoods. To extend moral, emotional and material help in every way possible.
We are also duty-bound to learn and grow from everything we experience or witness.
"A man without a home is not a man," the Talmud says, because without a home we have no place, no world. Our home is the setting of our lives: the place where we sleep and eat, laugh, play and cry. Our home is the place where we live as a family; where we imitate God, creating our own miniature world.
Just as God's world has its storms and seasons, so, too, our homes. There are times when our home life glows like the shining sun and flows calm like a soft stream. Sometimes we have tsunamis, hurricanes and turmoil.
Today, many who live in the pathways of the storms are taking a closer look at the physical structure of their home, making sure it has solid foundations and strong walls to help it withstand these outside forces.
All the more so the inside, the very reason we built our home in the first place. It must have strong foundations, morals and values to withstand the outside forces and the negative influences that storm on around us.
When we witness catastrophes, both man-made and God-sent, that knock down our homes, rip through our lives and leave us stranded and homeless, it is a time first to help those out there, bring them in, feed them, dress them and spread the warmth.
It is also a time to look into our inner foundations, the interior morals and values, and check that they are stable and strong. Enough to give us good reason to call upon God to put a final end to all these disasters once and for all.
As we enter the month of Elul, ushering in the New Year, we remember that at the beginning of the year God decides what the year has in store for us.
So we beseech and pray to Him: "Let us join You in making this world a home, a home that begins in our small houses and courtyards, in our cities, in our countries and throughout Your beautiful creation. Help us and guide us, give us the courage and all that we need materially and physically to withstand the stormy conditions. Let our homes be everlasting edifices of holiness.
"And may Your creation; our world, be strong and safe, pure and holy." [Mendel Cohen]