Aaron was silent.
When Aaron’s two sons died, his precious sons… the Torah says, Aaron was silent.
That’s the guidance many Rabbis are giving us today, 2021, in the aftermath of Lag BaOmer, where 45 people tragically died, and many others were injured. For those unfamiliar with the events last Thursday, in the midst of a most joyous celebration, the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer, 100,000 people gathered in Meron, Israel to dance, sing, celebrate. It is reported that some people slipped and fell in a narrow inclined area, and it began a chain reaction of people falling on top of others and the resulting devastation of lives lost.
My understanding of the “silent” guidance has much to do with G-d. It is so tempting in the aftermath of such horrible pain to question trust in G-d. “Is there a G-d…who loves, cares, is engaged?
The “silent” guidance instructs me not just externally but internally. I do not and cannot understand why this kind of pain happens. BUT, when the internal voices of doubt scream out, “See? You can’t trust!”…I don’t have to have that debate inside myself. I can be silent to those voices inside me. By being silent, and not defending G-d to myself, the fearful distrusting voices have nothing to hit against. And without resistance, they quietly wither and fall away.
I also heard another powerful message. Not only do I not defend G-d within my internal voices, I do NOT defend G-d to other people. I can’t and should not justify in any way why these terrible things happen. If I am responsible for myself, a mere little tiny human being, G-d certainly is responsible for G-d. It is not my place on any level to explain away the painful realities with platitudes of how I think G-d “thinks”.
On the human side, it’s important that we examine ourselves and our communities, the changes we can make to improve and make our world safer. Where might we have gone wrong, and what can and should we do differently to safeguard our precious lives? Even here, I look to “Aaron was silent”.
For me that means, not yet. Not yet time to dig in and look at our possible mistakes and how to fix them.
First it’s a time to mourn and cry. To hold each other up, to say Tehillim, to give blood to those who need, to give Tzedakah, to bring more light and acts of kindness in the memory of our lost brothers and sisters.
Lag BaOmer. One of the main principles behind the celebrations is to respect our fellows. Respect all of our brothers and sisters. Those who are like us, and those different.
Do we cease celebrating and only cry? No. Those to whom I have turned for guidance have said, even AS we mourn, we do not stop celebrating life, our fellows, G-d.
We cry and celebrate.
I am not sure if I quite understand.
Maybe it’s something like this… Our celebration is our stubborn expression.
We cannot speak for G-d.
But we can speak for ourselves. We speak in what we do…in action… our drive to respect and love one another.
Reports are coming out that Arab, Druze, and Jewish Israelis have set up food and drink stations in their villages to support the thousands of Jewish worshippers making their way out of the Meron mountains. Several Druze villages have offered their homes to evacuees unable to make it home in time for Shabbat. These are a few of the acts taken by people of diverse ethnicities, religions, and practices. So many people have lined the streets in Tel Aviv waiting hours to give blood that the Magen David Adom had to request people go home and return another day.
We do acts of kindness, prayers for all affected, and look inside ourselves. I ask myself, how can I be that person who respects my fellows – the ones who are the same and the ones who are different from me?
But in words of “Why?” I am …
PRAYERS for all affected by the tragedy in Meron, Israel.
Here is a PSALM for all who would like to pray for those affected…
Psalm 20 English Translation:
For the Choirmaster; a Psalm by David.
May the Lord answer you on the day of distress; may the Name of the G‑d of Jacob fortify you. May He send your help from the Sanctuary, and support you from Zion.
May He remember all your offerings, and always accept favorably your sacrifices. |
May He grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfill your every counsel.
We will rejoice in your deliverance, and raise our banners in the name of our G‑d; may the Lord fulfill all your wishes.
Now I know that the Lord has delivered His anointed one, answering him from His holy heavens with the mighty saving power of His right hand.
Some (rely) upon chariots and some upon horses, but we [rely upon and] invoke the Name of the Lord our G‑d.
They bend and fall, but we rise and stand firm.
Lord, deliver us; may the King answer us on the day we call.
ISRAELIS OF ALL SECTORS MOBILIZE TO HELP MERON VICTIMS: Ynetnew.com: A news article about the aftermath
IN MERON: RABBI SHIMON MATALON’S FINAL NOTE: Chabad.org: Rabbi Shimon Matalon, among the 45 people who lost their life this night, just earlier had shared an envelope with a friend, instructing him not to open it until Sunday. Here are his beautiful words.
MERON- UNITED IN GRIEF: Aish.com: A reflection on this tragedy and on soul searching.