6 He will rain down upon the wicked blazing coals and sulfur; a scorching wind shall be their lot.
yam-TAYR al r’-sha-EEM pa-KHEEM AYSH v’-gof-REET v’-RU-akh zil-a-FOT m’-NAT ko-SAM
ו יַמְטֵר עַל־רְשָׁעִים פַּחִים אֵשׁ וְגָפְרִית וְרוּחַ זִלְעָפוֹת מְנָת כּוֹסָם׃
11:6 Blazing coals and sulfur
The words aish v’gofreet (אש וגפרית), ‘blazing coals and sulfur,’ remind us of when the Lord rained down burning sulfuric coals on Sodom and Gomorrah in order to destroy them, as described in Sefer Bereishit (19:24) . There, the Torah uses the expression gofreet va-aish (גפרית ואש), ‘sulfurous fire.’ In the Bible, Hashem sends down from the heavens rain to sustain, manna to nourish, and burning fires to eradicate evil from the land. While in Sefer Bereishit sulfuric fire is associated with death and destruction, in the modern State of Israel it represents life, rejuvenation and prosperity. In 1911, Moshe Novomeysky, a European industrialist, visited the Dead Sea for the first time and understood its potential as a treasure trove for minerals, phosphates, sulfurs and potash. He created the Palestine Potash Company which would later turn into Dead Sea Works, one of Israel’s most important export companies and one of the world’s largest producers of potash products.