Tuesday, October 30, 2007
From time to time, I'm going to try and post items that may not have much to do with the overall theme of this site...or then again, they may everything to do with it.
This miracle concerns both the recent fires in California and a Rabbi of my acquaintance, Rabbi Yosef Brod.
While much of the media attention went to the Malibu, Orange County and San Diego fires, one of the worst fires to hit California in the recent outbreak was the Slide fire, in the Running Springs/Lake Arrowhead area. That fire burn out nearly 13,000 acres and wiped out 201 homes as it spread.
It's primarily a mountain area, with lots of log homes, trees and brush and the locale of a number of resorts and camps, including the one Rabbi Brod runs, Camp Gan Israel, a 75-acre Jewish camp.
When most of the residents in the area evacuated, Rabbi Brod, a Chabad Rabbi believed that G-d would protect the campsite, which Chabad bought for summer and winter camps and weekend retreats. So Brod called his wife and let her know that he was staying.One camp employee volunteered to stay with him,while the rest evacuated.
"She knew I'm so devoted to this place I wouldn't leave," he said.
By midweek, flames had reached the camp's northern edge, and a firefighting helicopter tapped the camp's swimming pool for water. Brod ran a hose from a fire hydrant to the pool to keep it full.
Like most orthodox Jews, the Rabbi prays three times a day, but that afternoon, "We prayed with a little more intensity," Brod said.
Obviously, G-d was listening. The flames were stopped only about 100 yards from the camp's wood-shingle main lodge.
Not only was the camp spared, but it became a haven for the firefighters , giving them a chance to rest and regroup while battling the flames.
When Rabbi Brod noticed a group of sooty, tired firefighters camping out on the narrow road that curves into the camp, he invited them to sleep in real beds on the campsite and use the facilities. Rabbi Brod fed and housed them.
Down the road from the camp, firefighters had been dozing in pop-up tents, on cots and on the asphalt between fire engines in a parking lot of the Snow Valley Mountain Resort in Running Springs, where a command center had been set up.
The rabbi invited them in as well. As the news spread, the campgrounds became a home away from home for dozens of firemen from all over the area and a dozen or so fire engines were parked by the giant menorah on the campgrounds.
On Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, Rabbi Brod was unable to work until after sunset and thus couldn't cook. So firefighters served themselves, eating cholent, a traditional slow cooking stew that had been prepared before Friday sunset the night before, when the Sabbath began.
As the men and women ate, Rabbi Brod chatted with them. "One match destroys a thousand homes just like that," he told firefighters. "If we have the power to destroy the world, we have the power to make it better."
After dinner, Brod went to check on his tired firefighter guests.
"So you own this whole place?" asked one firefighter.
"God owns the world," the rabbi replied.
Posted by Freedom Fighter at 4:52 PM