Commemorating the Safed earthquake

On January 1, 1837 an earthquake shook and destroyed most of the city of Safed and Tiberias at 2 PM. There were between 2 and 4000 victims. This HaAretz article covers the story through the eyes and words of the people who gathered to commemorate the event. They quoted Rabbi Avraham Dov Auerbach of Avritch [1765-1840, a Rebbe in Europe for forty years and in Zefat for ten, a disciple of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev] saying that “this city is the place from which the Kabbalah, the Zohar and the piyyutim (liturgical poems) went out, and therefore it is forbidden to leave.” This page recalls the traditional version of the miracle how he protected his community during the quake. Meanwhile the HaAretz article put it in current political context how “in times of hardship, the residents of Safed remained constant to the rabbi’s remarks on.” (To have some connection to a “Kabbalah book” I would like to point out that the story found at my second link is probably from Rossoff’s book: Safed: The Mystical City.)

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