More from Today's Hakhel:
Special Note Four: While leaving Parshas Korach, we note that the world at large continues to be exposed to earthquakes-- most recently from the waters near India to the shores of San Diego , where "dozens of earthquakes” rattled the city. As these 'natural' events, or reminders, if you will, continue to occur, there may be something else going on during our lifetimes as well. Some compared the recent volcanic ash to the Makka of Barad in Egypt, because it consisted of both fiery and frozen elements. Several weeks ago, we noted the frog invasion in Greece. Most recently, there are reports of a "great locust plague" which may attack Australia, with risk to hundreds of millions of dollars worth of crops.
Chazal (Yalkut Shimoni: Shemos 182) teach that all of the Makkos that Hashem brought on the Mitzriyim will in the future be brought again (based upon the Posuk in Yeshaya 23:5). Now, you may ask, "Could these recent events be allusions to the imminent Makkos, or even shades of the Makkos themselves--after all, they are not in the specific and well-defined order of the Makkos as we know them?” We may suggest that when Dovid HaMelech describes the Makkos in Tehillem ( Chapters 78 and 105), the Makkos are likewise not presented in the order that we are all familiar with. Perhaps this is a Remez, a hint to the Makkos of the final Golus, which will not necessarily be in the original order as well. We do not yet have a Navi to tell us. What we do have are the hearts of Torah Jews, which should be telling us what the Jews in Goshen were feeling when the 'extraordinary' natural events started to somehow become the ordinary in Egypt. In San Diego, the earthquake disturbed the major league baseball game, but they were able to forget about it and continued playing a few minutes after the tremor ceased (no joke)--almost like the hardening of the heart of the Mitzriyim to the 'natural' events, occurring 'coincidentally' one after the other, that befell them. We should know better. Those Jews who did not hear the message, or who did not want to hear the message, at that time were lost in the plague of 'natural' darkness--seemingly in a Middah K'Neged Middah for the darkness they had created for themselves. As far as we know, we have seen many dark events over the recent years, but we have not yet seen the plague of darkness in our day. By recognizing the Yad Hashem, by increasing our Yiras Shomayim, our Shivisi Hashem LeNegdi Somid--especially as the summer months approach where there are so many roadblocks and obstacles to Hashem's Presence before us--we too, like our ancestors then--will walk away during the plague of darkness with the riches of the world...because to us the 'natural' darkness will be a time when we merit a greater degree of all that we had been working on all along--basking in the light of Hashem's Presence!