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The tragedy in Israel: The correct response

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I was and still am devastated upon hearing the news that 45 Jewish participants were crushed and trampled to death while joyfully singing and dancing at the annual event at the grave of the venerated sage, Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai. This annual celebration is not new, but rather has been going on for thousands of years with varying amounts of participants, usually numbering in multiple tens of thousands.

The reason for the celebration is because the saintly Rabbi Shimon, a master Kabbalist, possible author of the Zohar, the main book of Kabbalah, taught that a person’s soul is our true essence, eternal and our real self, as opposed to the body, which is temporary and mortal. Rabbi Shimon followed this thought by teaching that when a person passes, the soul is freed from its bodily constraints. That’s why, on his deathbed, Rabbi Shimon requested that his disciples not mourn his passing but celebrate it.


This year (2021) began as it normally does with tens of thousands of Jews from all walks of life arriving either by bus, taxi, or on foot. They sang in unison, danced together and celebrated with all the joy and happiness they could muster for those few hours before heading back to mundanity.

It is unclear what happened next to cause the crush. Apparently, as the masses began to exit the festivities, they entered a narrow walkway that leads down some steps into........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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