Rabbi Hershel Billet Loses Two Cars, Sustains Major Hurricane Damage


rabbi-hershel-billetWoodmere, NY – Rabbi Hershel Billet, rov of Young Israel of Woodmere, has sustained major losses due to Hurricane Sandy.

“We tried to walk to shul this morning, but we did not succeed,” Rabbi Billet wrote in a message to his mispallelim. “We, like many of you, have been flooded, lost both our cars, and lost our power.”

Rabbi Billet and his wife, Renee (Rookie), have lost many of their basement valuables, like books, photo albums, a computer, and other items.

“Our good memories are engraved in the VCR in our minds,” stated Rabbi Billet solemnly. “That said, we are in very good spirits. We are fine. We had a minyan on our block this morning, we have food and water, and we have life and, boruch Hashem, we are healthy.

The Billets have no flood insurance but they say they are upbeat about the prospects of replacing what they can.

“In our family we have a slogan about material losses: ‘It is only money,'” said Rabbi Billet. “We learned the hard and painful way that there are things far more precious than possessions. Material items are a transient gift of the Ribbono Shel Olam. We cherish our family, our community (YIW, all the other shuls and schools), our friends and the privilege to be part of Am Yisrael. So keep a positive spirit. This, too, shall pass.

“We will see you in shul as soon as we get a row boat. Does anyone know if Sandy is male or female?” concluded Rabbi Billet.

Rabbi Billet is a YU Musmach with an MA in Jewish History. He is past president of the RCA, chairman of its Israel Commission, and a member of the OU Executive Board. He has been the rabbi of the Young Israel of Woodmere for the past 30 years.

{Andy Heller-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Thank you Rabbi Billet for helping u to gain a perspective in this. Just the mere fact that the water stays where it goes every othery of the year – hence the Brocha Rokah Ha’aretzAl HaMayim – in of itself is a fascination that we take for granted.

  2. Take a moment and start thinking……..

    Hashem is sending us all kinds of
    warnings. Terrible things are being forecasted by the press, the media in all its aspects and in the end it has sort of a soft landing so-to-speak.

    This does not mean that Hashem has cancelled anything or sweetened any of the Dinim. No, it’s a warning plain and clear. At the end it hasn’t come to fruition the way we thought it would. But one day it will happen!

    One day soon we are going to be given the chance to be afraid, to wake up and to do Teshuva. For the most part most of the Jews are ignoring the message from Shamayim.

    Most of the Jews prefer to believe that “soon we’ll go back to normal”. That will never be! That life that we lived with such a great amount of wealth and such an abundance has disappeared. That Gashmiusdik Egel HaZahav world that has turned us into cold heartless people is finished. Therefore Am Yisrael I beg you, I beg you go back to what was once. Go back to HaKodosh Boruch Hu.

    Go back to His Ratzon, to doing His Ratzon only! Let go of all the superficial adventures and desires that you have. Go back to the truth to the bare truth. Hashem is trying to bring it to you but you’re
    just ignoring it. With all the troubles and with all the signs and with all the things that are happening in the world that clearly point to the direction of catastrophe, very few are coming back to the Emes.

    Very few are trying to go back to being only an Eved Hashem, only doing Ratzon Hashem, or at least trying.

    Very few are getting the message, but one fine day you’re going to wake up to a very different world and nothing will help you then. I beg you. I beg you. What can I do? What else can I do? I can only beg you come back to Hashem, not the superficial type of Yiddishkeit that you’re building, but the true Yiddishkeit.

    Clean up the streets of the Frum community. Put Tznius back with men and women. Put back the love of Hashem, the true love of Hashem. Put back true Chessed. Stop the terrible lack of Shmiras Halashon. Come back to Hashem, really. Your streets are still full of disgusting things, lack of Tznius of terrible terrible Goyishe
    things. Clean it up, clean it up, clean up your minds and your hearts, and come back to the truth.

    Those who ignore warnings will suffer greatly but if they are true Jews they will be saved. The rest will never be able to open their hearts to HaKodosh Boruch Hu.
    Time is moving on. In the last five years, or even more, Hashem has been warning us with the greatest
    catastrophes that ever were in history. But because we personally weren’t injured by it, even if we don’t have jobs and we have to live on borrowed money and so on and so forth, but we still have what to eat and a place to live so we are just more or less ignoring it again. I warn you, one fine day you will wake up and the world will be incomprehensible to you and that will be the end.

    I feel that we are coming so very close to the end. I feel it in all of my body. My brain is suffused with the thought of it. My heart beats rapidly because of the fear I have from the great awakening. It is very very frightening I don’t know what to say more. I’m sorry, Mommy if I caused you trouble, but I’m very, very upset, very upset by it. I’m afraid for all of us for all the Yidden even though many of us will survive.

    Still it won’t be easy, very frightening. Again, I can feel it coming very strongly. In short we have to do something to show Hashem that we got his message and we are changing our ways of life trying to get closer to Hashem in any way possible.

    (this post is NOT directed to the Rabbi)

  3. wow listen and learn from this man. consider what he lost and try to imagine the feeling . yet, he is above that and is striongly realizing and appreciating important things in life… i still feel awful for him… but i think simple lesson like this is quite good one for all of us to learn… refocus on important stuff… not all the extras..

  4. Since the name list alternates between male and female names and “R” was Rafael (and “T” would be Tony”), Sandy was a female.
    Rabbi, this post is from a fellow who knew you back when we davened at the YI of Sheepshead Bay. Regards to you and your wife from Ira.