Sandy Hook & Hurricane Sandy: What’s the Kesher?

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sandy-hook-shootingBy D. Schonfeld

Whatever happens in the world, whether directly related to Klal Yisrael or seemingly not, Chazal say that it is a message to the Yidden [to do Teshuva]. If we think back, in the pretty  recent past there have been two major ‘happenings’ that have rocked our lives. Both of these, whether predicted or not, were unnatural- “Shelo B’Derech Hatevah”. The first one was Frankenstorm, the Storm of the Century; Hurricane Sandy. The latter was the very recent and even more tragic, massacre of very young children and civilian adults in the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown Connecticut. Both had a massive impact on all of our lives (for some more than others).

As all of us know many of our brothers in Klal Yisrael were in fact tremendously affected directly by the Hurricane. Many homes and belongings were damaged if not totally destroyed. The shootings, did not physically affect us Boruch HaShem, but had a deep emotional and psychological effect equal to if not greater than the Hurricane. Material possessions are replaceable, but what comfort can be given to a bereaved family grieving for a young one. Not just one child, but twenty young innocent children that couldn’t yet comprehend death or it’s finality. Which parent, sibling, teacher, relative or any human being for that matter, can imagine the unfathomable pain. Who didn’t envision this scenario closer to home Chas V’Shalom. Which parent did not hug their child closer or pay more attention to their childish requests. But besides for the untimely departure of (at least) one yiddshe neshama, how and does this concept-the overall picture-affect Klal Yisrael, as a whole and every Yid in person (in the long run).

I’m no Gadol, nor a Mekubal, just a plain and simple Jew. I cannot say what this means or what has to change and by who. I cannot diagnose a person’s spiritual problems or prescribe the correct ‘medication’. But some things don’t take that much.

If we take these two seemingly totally uncorrelated occurrences and look at them on the surface at least one thing should strike you. Isn’t it peculiar that these two drastic events that have occurred in our vicinity have a physical connection. The name. Hurricane Sandy – Sandy Hook Elementary school. What could this mean? Nothing?! Is there such a thing in this world as a coincidence? Aren’t we taught to attribute every little (and big) thing that happens to a master plan, to a higher being? I cannot do much with this ‘coincidence’ on a spiritual level, but on a logical level one can try to make a bit of a connection.

We know there are different systems of relations in the Torah. If you take the Gematria (numerical value) of the word Sandy/סנדי you get 124. Open up a Tehillim, compilations in which we turn to in a time of prayer, and flip to Perek Kuf Chaf Daled, or 124. The Kapitel there can be specifically recited for a ship farer, one traveling on waters. There King David praises and thanks Hashem reiterating that without Hashem, Chas V’Shalom, many evils would befall us. The two examples that David HaMelech are as follows. “לוּלֵי ה’ שֶׁהָיָה לָנוּ בְּקוּם עָלֵינוּ אָדָם- Had it not been for the Lord Who was with us when men rose up against us, אֲזַי חַיִּים בְּלָעוּנוּ בַּחֲרוֹת אַפָּם בָּנוּ- Then they would have swallowed us raw when their anger was kindled against us”. Without having to say much the connection is pretty apparent, “when men rose up against us”. But even deeper than that; the verbiage used for enemies, is Adam, the name of the mass murderer! Further David HaMelech speaks of another example – ‘wicked waters’. “…אֲזַי הַמַּיִם שְׁטָפוּנוּ- Then the waters would have washed us away…, אֲזַי עָבַר עַל נַפְשֵׁנוּ הַמַּיִם הַזֵּידוֹנִים- Then the wicked waters would have passed over our soul”. Here too no explanation is warranted. The words of the Tehillim seem to scream at us-do Teshuvah, come back! Don’t these examples, written thousands of years ago, seem to depict a familiar picture. One thing scares me though, David HaMelech says we are protected from such tragedies because Hashem is with us -“לוּלֵי יְהֹוָה שֶׁהָיָה לָנוּ”.

May we be zoche to the ever-present protection of the Almighty and the coming of Moshiach, B’Miheirah B’Yameinu. Amen.

{D. Newscenter}


  1. I think we’re aware of our predicament and the need for teshuvah without any attempts at nevuah. Tehillim speak to us because they’re uncannily on the mark whatever the situation.

    By the way, when I had to call the travel agency’s off-hours hot line to cancel a plane reservation because of the storm Sandy, the agent that picked up introduced herself as Sandy!

  2. Great post. Well thought out. It reflects the feelings most of us have about the two terrible events but introduces to us a possible link betwen them.

    Just as we saw in last weeks Parsha the doubling of Paroh’s dream was for a reason, perhaps a connection can be made between these two horrific occurances both having to do with “Sandy” instructing us to “read between the lines”.

    If the seemingly “natural” occurance of the hurricane and the devastation it brought didn’t shock us enough, perhaps the next and even more painful tragedy will not fall on deaf ears. Our collective hearts cry out in pain and prayer for those devastated families. Let’s hope there is no need for a third lesson.

    To the poster Ram- there was obviously no Nevua intended in the letter as is very clearly stated by the letter writer. But as is written in Mussar seforim, Nothing not known is being presented here just a Chazara of what we already know but sometimes need to be reminded of.

    May we all enjoy a wonderful Shabbos, and be Zoche to the Geula Shelaima Bimhaira Biyamanu Amen.

  3. The NOT coincidental kesher is even closer than the one written of in this article.

    ~ Here is a headline of the Star Ledger on 11/14/2012: Record Wave Heights Recorded Off of SANDY HOOK During Hurricane SANDY. “As wind, surf, and a coastal tidal surge pounded the shores and waterways on the night of Hurricane Sandy…a wave of 32.5 feet, a record storm tide, was recorded at SANDY HOOK.”

    So, on the night of October 29 the Ribbono Shel Olam inundated SANDY HOOK (New Jersey) with a devastating and record breaking storm surge. Fortunately, only wood and stone were destroyed.

    On the morning of December 14, another SANDY HOOK (in Connecticut) was inundated, but this time by a “surge” of bullets. The destruction was was not limited to wood and stone…tragically, the lives of 20 beautiful and innocent children, plus 6 of their loving teachers were destroyed.

    What did we Jews fail to learn after the first Sandy Hook catastrophe that required a second Sandy Hook blow from the Aibishter? I would humbly offer the following the suggestion of Rabbi Yehuda Oppenheimer (Mara d’Asra of the Young Israel of Forest Hills) who wrote on “Some are suggesting that rather than rebuilding ruined homes here, it is time to head, finally, to Eretz Yisrael. I agree with the sentiment and feel that in general all of us need to ask ourselves constantly whether we are justified in not taking advantage of the blessed opportunity our generation has been given to move to our true home. Rav Yisachar Shlomo Teichtal pleaded with Jews to leave Europe behind for Eretz Yisrael before the Holocaust that ultimately claimed his own life. In describing his frustration at the obstinacy of his generation in seeing the wonderful opportunity they had been given to return to Eretz Yisrael, he wrote: ‘We have yet to learn that we must no longer put our trust in the lands of exile. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, No! No! We will arise and go up to our true mother [Eretz Yisrael] and devote ALL of our strengths to HER, from now and forever, to build up HER walls and repair HER ruins.'”

    Alas, Bnei Torah in America, after suffering from hurricane Sandy, nevertheless insist on building anew and growing roots ever deeper into their beloved goldena medina…continuing to spurn their true home, Eretz Yisrael.

  4. Nice vort. And, don’t get me wrong, anywhere you find chizuk is admirable.

    But if you were writing a Get, the name Sandy would almost definitely have an ‘ayin after the samech, so your Gematria is off.

    Of course, now that I think about it, another form of Gematria would give you 23 – the corresponding Perek of Tehillim would be “Mizmor ledovid Hasehm ro’i.”

  5. Dear Rabbi/Mr. Schonfeld,

    Thank you for such an inspiring analysis; it should speak to every sould who reads this, and it is one of the central cores that ails us today. But if I may, I would like to add the following of “Zeh L’Umas Zeh:”
    For instance, The Mental Health Profession in the United States needs, in my humble opinion a total overhaul–from the bottom up! I’m for years already, running after psychologists/MH professionals, and have already paid out Thousands of $’s, in an attempt for them to speak with my adult son, who, a decade ago, had a terrible auto accident, in which another close and beloved family member was killed (Rachmono Litzlon). My son never had the proper PTSD counseling, for various reasons. In my numerous appointments with these psychologists,I begged them to initiate contact with my son, but they almost unanimously refused, citing professional ethics; they asked for the impossible–that my son call them first!
    MY Counter-argument is: Just as attorneys are free nowadays to advertise, and solicit business,Why shouldn’t Mental Health Professionals be able to follow suit–ESPECIALLY,if these are Jewish professionals, who should follow the Torah: “Lo Ta’amod Al Damm R’ei’acho?! Society, in general, and Am Yisroel, in particular, has to reflect on such burning issues, and become more sensitive to the great “Tza’ar” in our midst! May we include the aforementioned in our Tshuva, and be Zoicheh to see Moshiach soon. With happines and joy! LK.

  6. these tragedies & losses could have been avoided & should have, if only we would start to face reality & face Hashem with a start of doing teshuva BEFORE tragedy strikes again C”V

    how bad does/will the matzav in klal yisroel need to get before we all start doing teshuva?

  7. Sand also is defined as “chol” in loshon kodesh.
    “Chol” can mean secular ,and also “[to] make light of” in a negative way as in “Chilul Hashem”.
    Just a thought.

  8. B”H

    Sandy struck the beaches. The government sanctioning a form of immorality that is too repulsive to mention is probably now openly displayed at the beaches and may be why Ha-Shem struck the beaches. That Sea Gate was also struck is “woe to a wicked one and one to his neighbor.” A certain famous teenager whom inadvertently or otherwise promotes this immorality was recently an intended target of a murder plot which, middeh keneged middeh, was directly at him in such a way to evince Ha-Shem’s vengence. This supposed kodesh subliminally represented the movement that caused Ha-Shem’s displeasure with the beaches in NY & NJ to where He Yisborach struck them.
    The murder plot was carried out by an individual serving a sentence of about 1000 years imprisonment in New Mexico. He was a nobody whom concocted a publicity scam that made his name known internationally overnight.
    The Sandy Hook killings occurred about two days later. Good chance the killer there knew about the massive publicity stunt and decided he also wanted to be even more renowned. The message here is to avoid chukas hagoy – our people are suffering because they decided to live near a beach; beaches represent pleasure in this world. We are supposed to use this world not for pleasure but to advance our station in the next world.


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