On Sunday, a seaside resort in Turkey got a taste of the seventh Biblical plague when golfball-sized hailstones buried the city of Mersin in over three feet of ice. What began as a run-of-the-mill storm turned into a Biblically-inspired scenario as violent thunder preceded a deluge of ice, just as it did in Egypt.
Though the hail itself was not necessarily miraculous, it was certainly out of the ordinary for the Mediterranean city which normally experiences balmy temperatures that rarely go below freezing, even in the winter.
Streets were blocked and car windshields shattered as balls of ice incongruously piled up at the base of palm trees that lined the sandy shore.
The Israel Bible gives a poignant explanation of why the seventh plague, a combination of fire and ice, is appropriate for the turbulent times we live in.
“The hail contains both fire and ice, yet the fire does not melt the ice and the water of the ice does not extinguish the fire. They are able to exist in harmony for the purpose of fulfilling God’s will. Similarly, the medieval commentator Rashi comments (Gen. 1:8) that the Hebrew word for heaven, ‘shamayim,’ comes from the Hebrew words ‘aish’ (fire) and ‘mayim’ (water), as the two came together in harmony to make up the heavens. This serves as a powerful lesson of peace and is referenced in the daily Jewish prayer service. The following supplication appears multiple times in the liturgy: ‘He Who makes peace in His heights (between fire and water), may He make peace, upon us and upon all Israel.’”