Rabbi Shabtai Sabato: Let us not rely on A Miracle – Regarding the Dozens Killed & Injured in Meron on Lag B’Omer

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The following is an English translation of words of condolence and rebuke of Rabbi Shabtai Sabato, head of Yeshivat Mitzpe Yericho

Picture from an Article at https://www.voanews.com/middle-east/45-people-including-several-children-killed-israel-stampede


The rabbi wrote to his students in the wake of the disaster about the duty to guard against dangers. “We do not always deserve the miracles and wonders that accompany the joyful celebration in Meron.The heavy disaster that occurred last night in Meron broke the hearts of us all.Youngsters in their initial years of Torah study, who did not taste the taste of sin returned their pure soul to heaven.

We deeply feel the terrible pain of the families of the dead and pray from the bottom of our hearts to G-d to heal the wounded and save them from death to life.
The trauma is very severe both mentally and faith-wise.

Children who perish everywhere are an atonement for all the people of Israel and especially in the joy of Lag B’Omer celebrations.

We will never know what and why, nor is there a prophet to say it. But we must look to the future as “and the living shall take heed.”

The extensive and obsessive preoccupation with weekend pamphlets and flyers and certain radio broadcasts only in the miracles and wonders, salvations and spiritual treasures that take place on Lag B’Omer around Meron, distracts from understanding the depth of the teachings of the Holy Tanna, Rabbi Shimon on the one hand and the need to take all elementary precautions.

There is insufficient awareness of the natural dangers lurking for us whether on trips in unsupervised dangerous places, whether in careless driving or in mass gatherings.

It is forbidden to rely on a miracle and tell ourselves it will not happen.

We must make a supreme effort to preserve our souls. Last night no miracle happened and there was no miraculous rescue.
We do not always deserve the miracles and wonders that escort us every year with merriment in Meron.

What is known to have happened is that the children, teenagers and adults were trampled at the feet of the crowd desperately trying to flee in an unbearably narrow and cramped passage for tens of thousands of people. It was a very narrow place that did not allow for the arrival of medical personnel or evacuation.

Every year it could have happened and it did not happen. And what did not happen yesterday does not mean that it will not happen tomorrow.

We are all committed to continuing to live with strength and faith in a society that has love and brotherhood, peace and friendship, and we will pray to G-d who saves us every day from the hand of our enemies around us that rise to destroy us.