14 September 2008

Footnote on Hurricane "IKE"

Many comparisons have been made over the last 24 hours between Hurricane Ike 2008 and the Great Hurricane of 1900 which both zeroed in on Galveston, Texas. It has been noted elsewhere that "Ike" is a nickname or shortened version of the name Isaac. Interestingly, a book written about the 1900 hurricane was called "Isaac's Storm."

They followed similar tracks:

Both storms arrived on Shabbat Parshat Ki Tetzei---the 1900 storm on 14 Elul 5660 and Hurricane Ike on 13 Elul 5768 --- 108 years apart.

What does any of this mean? All I know is that it's no coincidence, because we don't believe in coincidences.

For more information about effects in the aftermath of the storm:

Hurricane Damage Extensive in Texas
Insurers loss from Ike seen from $8 bln to $18 bln
Hurricane Ike hits heart of U.S. oil sector

See the video version of the book Isaac's Storm...


  1. I couldn't open your video, but I agree, there is an important message here, it was written in 1999. This is a short description of the book.
    Isaac's Storm

    A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History
    Written by Erik Larson

    At the dawn of the twentieth century, a great confidence suffused America. Isaac Cline was one of the era's new men, a scientist who believed he knew all there was to know about the motion of clouds and the behavior of storms. The idea that a hurricane could damage the city of Galveston, Texas, where he was based, was to him preposterous, "an absurd delusion." It was 1900, a year when America felt bigger and stronger than ever before. Nothing in nature could hobble the gleaming city of Galveston, then a magical place that seemed destined to become the New York of the Gulf.

    That August, a strange, prolonged heat wave gripped the nation and killed scores of people in New York and Chicago. Odd things seemed to happen everywhere: A plague of crickets engulfed Waco. The Bering Glacier began to shrink. Rain fell on Galveston with greater intensity than anyone could remember. Far away, in Africa, immense thunderstorms blossomed over the city of Dakar, and great currents of wind converged. A wave of atmospheric turbulence slipped from the coast of western Africa. Most such waves faded quickly. This one did not.

    In Cuba, America's overconfidence was made all too obvious by the Weather Bureau's obsession with controlling hurricane forecasts, even though Cuba's indigenous weathermen had pioneered hurricane science. As the bureau's forecasters assured the nation that all was calm in the Caribbean, Cuba's own weathermen fretted about ominous signs in the sky. A curious stillness gripped Antigua. Only a few unlucky sea captains discovered that the storm had achieved an intensity no man alive had ever experienced.

    In Galveston, reassured by Cline's belief that no hurricane could seriously damage the city, there was celebration. Children played in the rising water. Hundreds of people gathered at the beach to marvel at the fantastically tall waves and gorgeous pink sky, until the surf began ripping the city's beloved beachfront apart. Within the next few hours Galveston would endure a hurricane that to this day remains the nation's deadliest natural disaster. In Galveston alone at least 6,000 people, possibly as many as 10,000, would lose their lives, a number far greater than the combined death toll of the Johnstown Flood and 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.

    And Isaac Cline would experience his own unbearable loss.

    ... Ultimately, however, it is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets nature's last great uncontrollable force. As such, Isaac's Storm carries a warning for our time.

  2. On Friday night (in another region of Texas) during a short lull after the seuda I thought about this storm, its name and the danger posed to the people that remained in its path--property damage was a given. I opened the Tanakh to the haftarah for Parshat Ki Teitzei and therein navi speaks of Yerushalayim left bereft of her children. He said “Broaden the place of your tent and stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, stint not; lengthen your cords and strengthen pegs. For southward and nortward you shall spread out mightily, your offspring will inherit nations and they will settle desolate cities.” We are taught that the navi means that Hashem will broaden her (Yerushalayim’s) boundaries. This bears relevance to the leaks or misstatements concerning negotiations on Yerushalayim late last week.

    Further, if we consider Issac in terms of our ushpizin and each of their Divine Attributes--we greet Issac on the second night of sukkot--we realize that Isaac represents Din--judgement.

    May Hashem protect us.

  3. Avoda, thanks for the blurb about the book. A very good summary for those who don't have time to view the video which is fixed now with a direct link.

    R., thanks for the insight. Excellent point.

  4. I watched the video and couldn't help thinking this is a warning for american jews in particular.

  5. Galveston is the birthplace of Johnathen Pollard, who has been imprisoned for over 20 years by the american government for passing intellegence information to israel about iraq's weapons capabilities in the early 1980's. No spy has ever served a sentence as long as Pollard. The same american government that did everything possible to prevent jewish escape from the nazis during the Holocaust, the same american government which bribes and blackmails israel's corrupt leaders into expelling jews from large sections of israel and giving their land to arab terrorists.

    As america continues to persecute the jews of israel and Johnathen Pollard, the logic of targeting galveston by God with hurricane Ike is clear.