The link above takes you to a story and video of Soriya Cohen. Husband Brad Cohen remains missing following the Miami Surfside collapse. She strongly feels that a full memorial should be made to honor her husband and the others who lost their lives.
She said her husband followed Jewish law to the letter. “The halacha about proper burial and cemeteries, it certainly should apply to him.” Kavod hamet, showing proper respect to the dead, has always been a deeply rooted tradition within the Jewish people.
Aaron Ha Kohen’s Passing
The above Chabad article describes the time just before Aaron Ha Kohen passed away. Key points made are as follows:
It was the fortieth year since the Jewish people had left Egypt. In a matter of months, they will all enter the “land flowing with milk and honey”.
Aaron was 123 years old, and his last day drew near. On the day before the new moon of the fifth month (Av). , G‑d spoke to Moshe, saying:”Go tell your brother this is his last day on earth.
Moses said to Aaron: “I have an important message for you from G‑d. Now, come let’s go up onto Mount Hor. I’ll tell it to you there. “Only Aaron, Elazar and I shall go up to the mountain,” Moses said.
Silently they climbed toward the summit. Moses still found it difficult to tell him. He had to find a way, somehow.
“Well, G‑d had left something in your charge,” Moses finally said, “and desires to claim it back. Do you know what I am referring to? “There is a sacred light that He gave you.”
“There is yet another light, my dear brother, a sacred Divine light that He gave every one of us. ‘The candle of G‑d is the soul of man.”
“I know what you are speaking of now,” Aaron said, lowering his head. “I am ready.”
“Yes, the greater the man the greater are his responsibilities, for smaller men look up to him for inspiration and guidance. I wonder if our successors will always remember this lesson… Moses said.
Moses then told Aaron to take off his priestly robes and to put them on his son Elazar. Aaron did so, and then lay down on the bed.
Presently the Clouds of Glory surrounded him. His face became radiant, and an expression of unusual exultation appeared on it. Thus, Aaron passed away peacefully in G‑d’s own tender care.
“I wish I would pass away like this,” Moses whispered. Then, wiping his tears off his face, he turned and left that sacred cave.
Similarities To What We All Witnessed At Miami Surfside
From the abovementioned story, we can make a few observations regarding the Champlain Towers collapse:
40th Year — Champlain Towers was built in 1981, its 40th year.
Aaron Died The First Day Of Av — In last weeks’ Parsha Maasei Para. 33 Ver. 38, The Torah states Aaron died on the first of the 5th month which is Av. This past Shabbat was Rosh Chodesh Av. It was read as the fourth Aliyah corresponding to Wednesday, counting each day of the week from Sunday being the first day.
According to news reports, the body of Brad’s brother Gary, was also recovered on Wednesday. I also read that the apartment they shared together was located but as I write this, Brad’s body is still missing.
The Sacred Light And Candle Of Man:
Fire burning beneath the crumbled remains of the destroyed section of Champlain Towers South is impeding rescue efforts, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a media briefing just after 10:30 a.m. Saturday, two days after the collapse.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava also spoke — “We’re facing incredible difficulties with this fire,” she said. “It’s a very deep fire.”
Aaron Did So, And Lay down On The Bed. Thus, Aaron Passed Away Peacefully In G‑d’s Own Tender Care.
According to reports from the rescue teams, many victims were found in their beds.
What About Soriya Cohen’s Request At The Beginning Of This Article?
Consider The Respect The Jordanians Give To Such Burial Places
Jordanian authorities regard the Tomb of Aaron as a mosque and forbid Jewish prayer services at the site. In August 2019, a group of Israeli tourists shared a video of themselves dancing with a Torah scroll at the site. Authorities then confiscated religious items from the group and closed the summit to foreign tour groups that do not have permission to visit from the Awqaf Ministry. Unrestricted access to the tomb was restored in December.
A link to a TOI article discussing this follows:
Therefore, Soriya Cohen’s request should be considered and discussed with leading Rabbinical Authorities.
But a bigger mystery remains; what did happen to the body of Dr Brad Cohen, given that brother Gary was found?