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It's no one's fault – the Jewish connection

It's no one's fault – the Jewish connection


This week we present the second part of our Earthquake FAQ column. We started talking about this last week, but had to stop in the middle. But not because of the earthquake.

Um, is this something you should be kidding about? Don't people die in earthquakes?

These are not the kind of earthquakes we joke about. We joke about the kind where people get confused for a moment and then think it's something they did, like in the first few seconds of a power outage. It's like we make jokes all the time about tripping, but in reality, people can die from tripping. A reader might say to me: “My grandmother tripped while bungee jumping, and they haven't tied the rope to her yet.” But this is not the kind of stumble we laugh at.

There happen to be over 500,000 earthquakes a year, and only about 100 of them cause any damage at all. This equates to 1 in 5,000 earthquakes, or two-fifths of one percent. This is in addition to the millions of earthquakes that occur every year that are too weak to be detected.

How do we know about these?


Why do earthquakes exist?

I'm not in the madriga to say why Hashem causes major earthquakes, but it seems that the small earthquakes are mostly there to give us something to talk about on our way home from Shul on Friday night:

“Did you feel the earthquake?”

“The first or the second?”

“Was there a second?”

“Yes, 6:00.”

“My house always shakes at 6:00 on a Friday.”

It also gives the Rav something to talk about if he is stuck in preparing his drasha.

It's as they say – a small earthquake on Friday is an earthquake.

No, I mean scientifically why do earthquakes happen?

This is a good question. Everything I know about earthquakes I learned from my fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Stein, who also taught me everything I know about penguins. We spent months talking about penguins, and how the father penguin hatches eggs and carries the young on his feet. (I think Ms. Stein might have had Sholom Pais issues.) But then, for a day or two, she focused on the earthquakes. I don't remember much of what she said because she mentioned something about underground plates, and I was wondering: Why are there underground plates? By the time I got back to the area, I had missed most of what she said.

What should I do during an earthquake?

The first tip that everyone has heard is that you should immediately get under a sturdy piece of furniture. So, nothing has been made in the last 30 years.

How will my furniture be stronger than my house?

Why isn't the entire plane made of a black box?

What is considered a durable piece of furniture?

You have to try it before you buy it. Jumping on sofas in the store. If employees try to stop you, they clearly have something to hide. Instead, go to a furniture store right before an earthquake and see the furniture the employees are hiding under. Or if they flee abroad.

Wasn't the earthquake over by the time you got out anyway?

There are still aftershocks to worry about.

Why are there aftershocks?

I wasn't listening to Ms. Stein anymore at this point.

How long can aftershocks occur after an earthquake?

Well, after a certain point it stops being called an aftershock and is called just another earthquake.

So what is the safest place to be in an earthquake?

The safest place is in the desert, or perhaps the moon, under a sturdy piece of furniture, with safety instructions posted underneath.

What should I do if I don't have sturdy furniture?

Try to have a good relationship with your little one, so that you are the first person she thinks of when she tries to get rid of something or if she stumbles while bungee jumping.

Alternatively, you can lean close to a wall, but not a wall with windows.

What do experts recommend?

Experts recommend that before doing this, run and grab heavy, dangerous objects that you do not want to fall to the ground and place them on the ground. Also place all the vases on the floor. Unplug your chandelier and place it on the floor. Also, push each seforim as far back as possible. And fasten all the sephorim and Chinese cabinets to the walls.

Should I do all this during an earthquake?

No, you have to do a lot of this beforehand, because you don't want to be on a ladder.

Is there a good way to remember what I should do?

In areas where earthquakes are common, they teach children to do three things: stop, drop and roll.

No, sorry, it's drop, cover and wait. The same.

So shouldn't I stop before I fall?

Not this time, no.

Well, why when I'm on fire do I have to stop before I fall? What if the fire also catches fire during an earthquake?

Well, you can stop, land twice, roll for cover, and then hold still. Or you can just get the message.

What does “wait” mean?

This means that even sturdy furniture can start to shake on the floor, so you want to hold on to it, or at least move with it.

I didn't do any of this.

Yes, the problem is that you only know afterwards how big the earthquake is.

What do they recommend?

Experts recommend preparing an emergency kit that contains first aid supplies, a flashlight, a phone charger, and a radio that does not need to be plugged in. For yiden, they recommend a larger kit that includes spare tefillin, a siddurah with tehillim, a gartel or tourniquet, a pacifier, grape juice and a wrap, and a practical sheitil for your wife so she doesn't have to wander outside with a desk on her head.

Then, after the earthquake, turn on the radio and listen for the warnings, instructions, and people calling to talk about their dogs and their experience crouching under furniture with those dogs. and whether alternate street-side parking has been suspended.

Mordechai Schmater is a freelance writer and humor columnist for HaModia and other magazines. He has also published eight books and performed stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].




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