Everyone knows you don’t leave a small child alone in the car. Except for when, fill in the blank with whatever excuse you can come up with. For me, it was because I’d left something inside the house. That happened thirty-eight years ago but I haven’t forgotten it because a near disaster occurred in those few minutes my children were left unsupervised.
Everyone knows one doesn’t go hiking in dry river beds when there’s flash flood warnings. Except for when, again fill in the blank with whatever excuse you can come up with. That’s what happened in Israel last week and we’ll never forget it because a horrifying disaster occurred. Ten promising, pre-army youths were drowned in raging waters.
Israel is a small country. My son’s mother-in-law knows the sister of one of the victims. My friend’s grandson goes to school with the cousin of another. We’re all interrelated and in the aftermath of the tragedy trying to understand what went so wrong. Arrests have been made, investigations are ongoing, and many are playing the blame game. The bottom line, though, is that ten precious lives were snuffed out in Nachal Tzafit, a beautiful site in the Negev that will be forever tainted by the memory of their deaths.
Thirty-eight years ago my daughter got out of her car seat, crawled under a hole in the neighbor’s fence, and went into their swimming pool. By the time I got to her she was floating on the water with a blue tinge to her body. HaShem was kind to me and after two days in the hospital she came home well and whole.
I cannot begin to comprehend why HaShem made a miracle for my daughter then and not for the ten students last week. This recent tragedy haunts me. If the ten had been murdered in a terror attack I could be angry at the terrorist. Now I don’t know on whom to focus my anger. The organizers of the trip? The administrators of the school? The counselors?
One thing I know is that, unlike a terrorist, no one wanted these young people dead. Ultimately, just like in terror attacks, it was Hashem who decided to take them from this world. If I believe, and I do believe, that HaShem is constantly involved with our lives then He had a reason for the deaths. A reason that, right now, I cannot understand.
I pray that the time will come soon when we will be able to understand all our tragedies and disasters. Until that time, I pray that the families and loved ones of Ela Ohr, Tsur Alfi, Yael Sadan, Maayan Barhoum, Romi Cohen, Shani Shamir, Agam Levi, dAdi Raanan, Gali Balali, and Ilan Bar-Shalom, may their memories be for a blessing, find comfort.
|The victims, courtesy of Times of Israel|