Making Sense of the Sassoon Tragedy


sassoonchildrenIn every Jewish tragedy, we are not to make light of it as though it is a random occurence, but to treat each one as a message from Hashem.  Hear what our Rabbonim have to say about the Sassoon tragedy.




Making Sense of the Tragedy

 It’s the sins of the generation that kill, not the lack of a smoke alarm, not the warming tray. We need to do serious teshuva in our observance of Shabbos, Tznius, Shmiras Halashon and in any other areas that need improvement.

I hope that the death of my seven children will be a kapara (atonement) for something and that they didn’t die in vain. — Reb Gabriel Sassoon


While Rosh Chodesh Nissan is a happy day, this time it was an extremely difficult day for Yahadut. The tragedy in which the seven children perished in the United States demands that we all conduct a cheshbon nefesh contemplating why the Midas HaDin has struck us so hard and in this most difficult way. — Sanzer Rebbe Shlita


There is a connection between the tragedy and Parashas Vayikra, because it is the story of the victims and the Torah mentions victims of sin and guilt and so on, this is a time for atoning sins.  The text of the Haftorah says “an atonement for all generations.” The community should strengthen the observance of Shabbat, and the merit of Shabbat is great in protecting against calamity”.  Be very careful not to come close to sunset in doing acts that are forbidden on the Sabbath. In places that usually each person has a private vehicle, they are traveling very close to Shabbat and, God forbid, they inadvertently do work after the Sabbath. They must be wary of doing anything forbidden on the Sabbath and leave plenty of time before sunset, so there will be no mishaps. And it is appropriate to be careful to stop from doing such acts at least half an hour before sunset.  — Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman, Shlita

A condolence letter to the holy Rabbi Gabriel Sassoon and to his important family shlit’a we were horrified to hear about the terrible tragedy that pains every ear that hears about the precious souls and the merit that was abducted by death so strange, and certainly it is due to the sins of our generation and will be considered to return us to the proper way and may Hashem send a quick healing.

It is written in the Gemara in Masechet Shabbat, page 33A; ‘Due to the dirty misuse of speech, much trouble and harsh decrees are brought down and the children of sinners cause death and so on’ and on page 119B, ‘a burning is not found except in a place where there is the desecration of Shabbos,’ and behold none of us know what and for what has God done this to us.  But all who are close and want to lift up the souls should be strengthened to maintain Tznius (modesty) and Kedusha (holiness) and remove all devices that defile the souls of man, and bring in Shabbos a few minutes ahead of time and certainly this will lift the souls of these pure people, and Hashem said unto the angel that soon there will be a comforting among Jerusalem and in Nissan they will be redeemed.  — Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita


I have said that the main reason for this (all of the troubles and punishments) is that we ourselves are distancing Hashem from us… Everything connected to the horrible thing called “fashion” [a way of dressing which includes anything worn from head to toe for the main purpose of attracting men, may Hashem protect us] brings a person to have sinful thoughts… and it actively nullifies Hashem’s words: “And your camp shall be holy, and there should not be seen amongst you anything, ervat davar, immodest.” And due to our many sins, a great fire has broken out in Hashem’s vineyard in many places because of this terrible “fashion,” because the impure forces become stronger due to this… and therefore the influence and blessing which each person should receive in his dealings has been stopped, and this causes all the troubles and bad things… Therefore there is an obligation upon each and every person to put out this terrible fire and to make sure that in his house, everyone acts according to halacha and not with immodesty … And the greatest obligation is on the Rabbis…The Chofetz Chaim

We remember the tragedies involving Tinokot Shel Beit Rabban (Jewish children) who died al kidush Hashem in the months of Adar and Nisan of the past years:

Toulousse, France terror attack claiming the lives of a Rabbi and three school children (Sandler and Monsenego Families) on March 19, 2012 Parashas Vayikra

Rehovot Fire taking the lives of a father and his five children (Shaer Family) on March 26, 2012 Parashas Tzav

Itamar Massacre taking the lives of two parents and their three children (Fogel Family) on March 11, 2011 on Shabbos Parshas Vayikra

Mercaz Harav Massacre taking the lives of eight children on March 6, 2008 (Rosh Chodesh Adar II) on Parashas Pekudei

When asked by a shiva visitor on what he should take upon himself as a zechus for the deceased children, Reb Gariel Sasoon replied:

I will give you some homework. The homework is to think of an area that needs improvement and think of one step to take towards improving it. — Reb Gabriel Sassoon

Day of Learning l’ilui Nishmas Sassoon Children

Forward to the 8th minute to start the program.

Rabbi Yigal  Haimov

Rav Chochom Ovadia, zt”l told me when I visited him two months before my sickness that because this generation has no tzniut, all of it is prutzim, that’s why so many problems happen.  When a couple comes to you for help, you must tell them that you cannot deal with them until the wife starts to cover up.

I went to Rav Aharon Leib Steinman, shlita and this is what he told me, ‘For every inch you (the women and girls) lengthen your garment, you can save 50 people from getting sick.’  —Rabbi Yigal Haimov

Rabbi Meyer Yedid

Is there a message for us?  When something happens to someone, is there a message for me? What is the Creator’s opinion? Gemara (Yevamos 63) states: “Calamity comes to the world only because of the Jewish people.” Gemara Berachos says that thunder is created by G-d in order to straighten out the crookedness in a person’s heart in order to  humble the person. Devarim 4:30 says ‘When you are distressed, and all these things happen upon you in the end of days, then you will return to the Lord your G-d and listen to His Voice.‘  It means you had better start to think and return to your Creator and to listen to His Voice. Sometimes G-d speaks to us and sends us messages, and we have to pick up the Voice.  We have to be able to say that that message is for me and I need to know what to do going forward.  When the Chofetz Chaim, zt”l, used to hear thunder he would ask “What does Father want from us?” (Vos vill der Tata?)  When the Almighty speaks, we must pay attention.  When a family member passes away, the entire family should get worried.  When a person from a community passes away, the entire community should get worried.  What does Father want that we are not doing that we need to do?

The same way that Yom Kippur atones, so does the death of tzadikim atones.

To listen to Rabbi Meyer’s shiur click here.

Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein

The Zohar HaKadosh Parshas Vayikra writes:

Come and see.  When the tzadikim who protect the generation are alive in the world, and also the young children who learn in the yeshivos are found in the world, they break the bad edicts that are new in every generation.  Through the children and through the tzadikim, the Shechinah is able to live with us together in this galus.  And if there are not enough merits from the tzadikim and the children, k’vi yachol, we wouldn’t be able to exist in this world.

There is not enough z’chus in the month of Adar to forgive the sins of our nation.  The tzadikim are grabbed first in order to atone for the sins of the generation. If there are not enough tzadikim, the lambs (the children) who learn in yeshivos are grabbed to atone for the sins of the generation. Even though they are taken not because of their sins,  they are taken in order to atone for the sins of the generation.



Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi


There is not one Jew in the world who is dismissed from doing a cheshbon nefesh (spiritual accounting) for such a tragedy, not even one, not even a Jew from Japan who doesn’t belong to this community.

We have a very big drop in modesty in our community.  Massive epidemic of our kids addicted to heroine.  There is a divorce epidemic.  There is a shidduchim crisis.  There are many guys who couldn’t find girls who are truly shomer negiah.  In order to solve the problems, we need to find the root of the problem.

Response to second tragedy in Midwood community of Brooklyn, a shooting of a Jewish man.

Rabbi Duvi benSoussan


Rabbi Joey Haber

Rabbi Yisroel Reisman

We are the richest Jewish community but we complain too much!  Instead of counting our blessings, we look at what we don’t have…. We make ourselves miserable for no reason. — Rabbi Yisroel Reisman


Talking to our Children

Rabbi Yaakov D. Klar addresses  how to talk to our children about it

Rabbi Sruli Fried also addresses how to talk to our children about it