The occupant of this house tells me he has called BGE (Baltimore's power company) but has been told that, as owner, he is responsible for the (substantial) cost of removing the tree. He, a man of limited means, cannot afford to do so. Meanwhile, it is clear that with a strong wind, this tree will soon be falling in one of several directions, including onto/into my neighbor's house.
|View of the dead tree from my window. Even after the clean-up, a large branch remains in the carriage house.|
In Nehardea there was a shaky wall that had been in the same condition for thirteen years. Nevertheless, Rav and Shmuel would not go past it. One day, Rabbi Adda bar Ahavah came [to visit them]. Shmuel said to Rav: "Let's walk around the wall." Rav replied: "Today it is not necessary, for Rabbi Adda is with us whose merits are so great that we don't have to be afraid [of the wall]." - Talmud Bavli, Ta'anit 20b
Perhaps the world has changed, but I do not know of people who have the power to stay a shaky wall, or arrest a falling tree. Walls must be buttressed, and dead trees must be removed before people get hurt or worse. In the vicious cycle of not-so-benign neglect, there are real consequences. One can only pray that the people charged with keeping our citizens safe realize this before it's too late. After all, even the Rabbis of the Talmud recognized that miracles are hard to come by...
Rabbi Yanai said: "A person should not stand in a dangerous place and say, 'A miracle will occur for me,' for perhaps a miracle will not occur...."
In other words, "Chop down the damned tree!"