Florida Chassidim to Mark Anniversary of Miracles

31 years ago, as a category 5 hurricane was barreling toward Miami Beach, Chassidim worldwide witnessed open miracles from the Rebbestrengthening their faith during those tumultuous times.

By Rabbi Raphael Tennenhaus

31 years ago, on the 25th of Menachem Av, 5752/1992, we experienced Hurricane Andrew and the tremendous miracles we saw from the Rebbe. 

There will be two Farbrengens in Hallandale Beach this Shabbos to commemorate this incredible occasion, one Friday night and one Shabbos day. 

It is customary for Chassidim and all Yidden to be makir tov, to show appreciation for a good thing that happened to them, and for this reason, Chassidim and Jews in South Florida and throughout the world, will once again celebrate the wondrous advice and salvation that tens of thousands of Jews received from the Rebbe on this day 31 years ago.  

In a report to the Rebbe 31 years ago, I wrote: During Hurricane Andrew, which took place on 25 Menachem Av, we merited to see כה מנחם. 

I continued in my report: May we immediately merit to see and say: זה מנחם!

Every Yom Tov, we celebrate not only an event that happened in our illustrious history. We actually relive the day or days! So too with the 25th of Menachem Av. We actually “relive the day”, and give thanks to Hashem that we were indeed part of a huge miracle that literally saved our lives and the lives of so many others. 

Rabbi Shmuel Heber שליט״א, my first out-of-town Rosh Yeshiva, called me a few days after Hurricane Andrew, to ask all the details of the Rebbe’s incredible advice and repeated advice, for me and my community to stay put during Hurricane Andrew. He was speaking in 770 (I believe at a Siyum in a Halacha of the Rambam) and he wanted the details from the first person who called the Rebbe’s office.  

Many people told me, that for Chassidim worldwide, Hurricane Andrew was a pivotal day after 27 Adar Rishon, 5752, that infused Chassidim with strengthened Emunah and Bitachon, that the Rebbe was 100% guiding us as always. 

Now too, after Gimmel Tammuz, Chassidim continues to believe that the Rebbe guides us, blesses us and directs us, with even greater vitality than ever. 

Indeed, may we go from כה מנחם to זה מנחם with the revelation of Moshiach, NOW!


On Sunday morning, 24 Menachem Av 5752, the eye of the Category 5 storm was heading to the Dade/Broward line, where we are situated. 

I called Rabbi Avrohom Korf, the Head Shliach of the State of Florida, and I asked him if he will call the Rebbe. 

Rabbi Korf hesitated and suggested that I make the call. This was six months after the Rebbe suffered a stroke at the Ohel on 27 Adar 1, 5752. 

I called the Rebbe’s office at 8 am. The Mazkir Rabbi Leibel Groner z”l answered, and I told him the details, including the fact that a good part of South Florida was being asked to evacuate. 

Rabbi Groner told me that he cannot say for sure if he will get an answer. One hour later, at 9 am, Rabbi Groner called, and said that the Rebbe was emphatic that we stay put. 

A bit later, Rabbi Leibel Schapiro, from Miami Beach called, to inquire if the answer about not evacuating applies to Miami Beach as well.  Once again, the Rebbe was emphatic not to evacuate. 

A third inquiry was soon made by Rabbi Raphy Solomon, living in Sunny Isles (in between Hallandale Beach and Miami Beach) if the instruction to stay put applies to that area as well. Sure enough, the Rebbe was insistent that he too remains and not evacuate.  

Thousands in South Florida can retell the wondrous miracles from their perspective. Personally, I never let 25 Menachem Av go by without saying L’Chaim, usually in my Synagogue in the atmosphere of a Chassidishe Farbrengen. 

The storm was the most powerful I have ever witnessed in my 40 years on Shlichus in South Broward. 

The “experts” later said, that one of the errors in their horrific predictions, was that the storm was a dry storm, not a wet storm, as they had anticipated.  

Chassidim knew, without a doubt, that we merited an open big miracle, predicted by the Rebbe. 

Many years later, the Ish HaChesed Reb Yingy Bistrisky, told me at a wedding, that he was in the Rebbe’s room (as a dedicated member of Hatzalah) when the information was first brought to the Rebbe.

“Rabbi Groner asked the Rebbe regarding your 8 am request that Sunday morning in 5 different ways, whether to evacuate or whether to stay. Each of the 5 times, in both the positive and the negative, the Rebbe nodded strongly, and was adamant to stay and not evacuate”.  

This open miracle of the Rebbe, was an inspiration to tens of thousands of Chassidim at the time, and it is celebrated every year with great enthusiasm.  

The media picked up the story all around the world, including New York Newsday, which quoted how I remarked, “our sign, ‘Torah in Action’ stayed up. It didn’t get knocked over by the 150 MPH winds. The sign of the bank next door came crashing to the ground. It’s a reminder that money comes and goes. Torah lasts forever!”  

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