A violent hailstorm struck Medina, Saudi Arabia over the weekend, and on Monday, a rare storm blanketed the Vatican in snow. Two Jerusalem rabbis noted that such unusual weather phenomena occurring on the week of the holiday of Purim bear a powerful message for the world’s two largest religions.
In Medina, the burial place of Muhammad and the second holiest site for Muslims, hailstones rained down the size of golfballs and pelted the city on Saturday and Sunday, injuring people, killing animals and severely damaging vehicles and buildings. There was also significant flooding, and many public buildings and facilities were forced to close. A total of 54 people were injured at al-Masjid an-Nabawi (“the Prophet’s Mosque”) and needed to be taken to the local hospital.
Rabbi Yosef Berger, who is in charge of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, noted that according to Jewish sources, the plagues of Egypt will return and strike the nations of the world.
“This was highly unusual but it was clearly unlike the hail that struck Egypt which was a miraculous combination of fire and ice,” Rabbi Berger told Breaking Israel News. “Nonetheless, ever since the solar eclipse in the summer, the world has seen extreme natural occurrences like this.”
The rabbi mentioned the hurricanes that struck the eastern coast of the United States (US) as well as the earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that have occurred with disturbing frequency in recent months all around the world.
“This is just a preview and a taste of things to come,” Rabbi Berger said.
The snowstorm that hit Vatican City and Rome on Monday was the second and heaviest snowfall to hit the Mediterranean city in 33 years and the result of a massive cold front dubbed the ‘Beast of the East’ by meteorologists. The cold front originated in Siberia and is crossing Europe.
With four inches of snow, the winter storm was hardly a blizzard but temperatures rarely drop below freezing in the Vatican and the city was consequently, ill-prepared. Schools closed, transportation was disrupted and the airport all but stopped functioning as the Italian army was called in to help clear the snow and restore order.
As expressed by the prophet Isaiah, snow can be seen as a sign of repentance.
“Come, let us reach an understanding, —says Hashem. Be your sins like crimson, They can turn snow-white; Be they red as dyed wool, They can become like fleece.” Isaiah 1:18
Rabbi Yekutiel Fish told Breaking Israel News that the hail and snow striking Medina and the Vatican respectively are warning calls of repentance with an added hint of dire consequences that will occur if they do not repent.
“The gematria (Hebrew numerology) of the word sheleg (snow) is 333,” Rabbi Fish explained to Breaking Israel News. “This is precisely equal to gar’een, the word for an atomic bomb.”
Rabbi Fish said this was a reference to the end-of-days battle of Gog and Magog.
“The war in the end-of-days is going to be between Ishmael, the Muslims, and Edom, the Catholic Church,” Rabbi Fish said. “Both cities, religious centers for their respective religions, being hit by snow and hail in the same week in such an extraordinary manner is a clear hint of the nature that war will take.”
The War of Gog and Magog as a nuclear conflict conforms to a tradition from Rabbi Elijah of Vilna, the preeminent Torah scholar of the 18th century known as the Vilna Gaon who was well known for his contributions in understanding the Messianic process.
The Vilna Gaon, taught that the war of Gog and Magog will last 12 minutes. This 18th-century prophecy of a 12-minute war was somewhat prophetic as it came several hundred years before the advent of nuclear weapons. Such a short war, possibly a nuclear exchange, may have been hinted at in the Bible.
At eventide behold terror; and before the morning they are not. Isaiah 17:14
Rabbi Berger also referred to the timely significance of these two bizarre storms, noting that Jews around the world read last Saturday, the section of the Torah describing the mitzvah (commandment) of erasing the memory of Amalek. The reading of the biblical passage is in preparation for the upcoming holiday of Purim that celebrates the downfall of Haman, a descendant of the Amalekites, who attempted to wipe out the Jewish people.
“Here we see the Hand of God covering up these two cities that are sanctified to erasing Torah,” Rabbi Berger said to Breaking Israel News. “It is like Hashem (God, literally ‘the name’) wiping out the memory of those two cities.”
The rabbi elaborated with an allegory.
“After the Messiah, the world will be entirely different, as if it was newly created,” Rabbi Berger said. “Covering these two cities in white is like whitewashing a canvas before beginning a new painting.”