Tzemach Yehudah Richter
Tzemach Yehudah Richter

In memoriam – The Meron tragedy – And the number 46 


Here in Israel, it is a national day of mourning for the victims of the Meron tragedy. We all feel we lost loved ones and if that is true for myself and my fellow Jews here and all over the world, then it must be so much harder for all the families of those that perished. And that also applies to those families whose loved ones were injured during this tragedy.

Like everyone else, I keep on asking myself how could this happen in Israel, of all places, to so many Jews, all at one time who came to dance and pray together at the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai?

When events such as this happen, I always refer to the words of the Chazon Ish who wrote a book on “Faith & Trust”. It was translated into English by Yaakov Goldstein and published in 5768. One of the most important ideas to come out of this writing appears on page 46. There, the Chazon Ish asks all of us to test ourselves and decide when an event such as that which took place in Meron causes us to realize that Hashem is still in control, or do we turn to other less reliable sources and strategies for comfort?

Number 46

I have written many times about the number 46 in past Blogs, and the simple fact that page number 46 represents the same number encourages me to do further analysis.  I must say I did not expect to mention this so soon, but based on the current chain of events, I feel that I must discuss this here and now.

Witness 46 – Common Sense

In the Derek Chauvin trial, which took place in my hometown, at 308pm Monday Afternoon on April 19th, the prosecution rebuts the closing argument of the defense by speaking to the Jury about Witness 46 who never gave testimony because there were only 45 witnesses. But they claimed that there was witness 46 who they labeled as “Common Sense”. I am saying nothing further about this case for this Blog.

Witness 46 – At Meron

After hearing of this tragedy, I saw that 44 precious souls were confirmed dead on Friday morning but as the day wore on another victim passed away bringing the total to 45. And as I am writing this Sunday, the day of mourning, Baruch Hashem, no further fatalities have been recorded.

There is obviously no connection between those witnesses at the Chauvin trial and what took place at Meron, but when the prosecution mentions witness 46 not being there, it really suggests to me some connection.

The Eyes Of Hashem Are On Israel From The Beginning To The End Of The Year                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Obviously, when a person sees with his own eyes an event, then he or she qualifies to be a witness. But the word witness can not be used to describe a human being who is absent. In Hashem’s case, that is a totally different story.

Since Meron is located in Israel, where it is written that the eyes of Hashem are on Israel from the beginning to the end of the year, it follows, therefore, that Hashem is in total control of what took place in Meron.

We do not know why this took place, but we do know that this must also be part of G-d’s eternal plan that hopefully will bring the coming of Moshiach much closer to becoming a reality.


About the Author
Born and raised in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. Married to a South African, we lived in Johannesburg from 1979 to 1996. Made Aliyah with our seven children on Parshat Lech Lecha. BSB Accounting Degree from the University of Minnesota. Investment Portfolio Manager /Fundamental And Technical Analyst. Wrote in-depth research on companies, markets, commodities for leading financial publications. Served in the US Army Reserves Semi Retired spending quality time with my wife, children, grandchildren and attend Kollel while analyzing current events as they relate to Torah and Mitzvahs.
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