From Celebration… to Day of Mourning
Breslev Israel cries with the bereaved and prays for the injured from the tragic event in Meron on Lag B'Omer. How do we cope with such a tremendous loss such a joyous day?
Over these I cry… (Lamentations 1:16)
An absolutely heartbreaking tragedy.
That’s the best words I can come up with. After that, there are simply no words… only rivers of tears.
A young man who was engaged. Another man who had just had his first child two weeks before. Yet another whose wife is pregnant with their first. A young man who left behind 9 small orphans. So many young orphans who will never remember their father.
And on the flip side, young children mourned by their parents. Not one, but two, families mourning two children who passed that night. People who flew in just to be in Meron, now staying in Israel forever.
As Rabbi Arush said after the event, “What are we not mourning?!”
Every single one of them was a precious gem, an entire world unto itself. The fact that they left this world at the biggest yearly celebration, a day that is like Yom Kippur, and also like Purim, that is so incredibly special and holy – just adds salt to the gaping wound.
We are all shocked to our core. We are all grieving with the families and sending them our warm hugs and prayers. The loss is indescribable.
Israel expresses our heartfelt condolences to the hundreds of mourners around the world who lost their loved ones that night in Meron, and our prayers are with those who were injured in the terrible event, and their families.
Perfect Emuna – With Heart
The last three days have been gut wrenching. How do we cope? How do we not lose hope? Rabbi Arush explained that we must hold two things together, two sides of the coin – each without letting go of the other:
On the one hand – Perfect emuna.
Emuna never changes! It’s true that we didn’t just get a slap on the cheek – we got a serious punch in the face. And at , at halachic midnight, which is the pinnacle and holiest moment of this holiest day, a special time of Divine favor, no less.
But who gave us that punch? The Almighty G-d Himself. Hashem, who loves us and always does everything for the very best. Yes, even this.
We have to hold very strong to our emuna! As Rabbi Arush says, “I don’t understand, I only believe, that everything is for the best.” Because if you already understood, it wouldn’t be much of a test, would it? But Rabbi Arush also promises, that if you will thank Hashem for the suffering you are experiencing, then eventually, one day, you will see and understand how it was for the very best.
On the other hand – Have a heart that feels.
However, we don’t just ignore the pain. That’s called having a heart of stone, and we’re ordered to have a heart of flesh that feels.
Just like that father who gives his child a serious slap when he did something wrong and refuses to repent – it still hurts. Even if the child understands that the slap was for his best, clearly this is what he needed for some good reason – it hurts.
All the more so when someone else is the one in pain. Love means that we feel each other’s pain. Emuna certainly cannot mean that we ignore the pain and say, “Well, everything’s for the best, right?”
Absolutely not. We know it’s for the best, but we still cry and mourn. Oy, oy does it hurt!
But we don’t drown in the pain. We let the emuna strengthen us to work through the pain, soften it, and ultimately, heal it.
Take a Good Look at Yourself
We don’t understand the accountings of G-d in Heaven. We believe, specifically because we don’t understand why, or how this could be good.
we must take a good, hard look at ourselves in the mirror. Do we love each other without reason? Or spread evil speech and slander on social media and in the we leave?
Do we care about each other, regardless of what kind of kippa we do or don’t wear?
As one injured father said at his son’s funeral, “It’s enough! It’s time to come together in unity! Why do we come together only when there is a tragedy? There was such unity at the hospital, it was incredible. Why do we need the hospital to come together?”
It’s time to stop pointing fingers at others! It IS time to start judging each other , with justice – which the Midrash explains, means that we must dan , judge to the side of favor!
A Gaping Hole – That We Must Fill
Each one of the 45 holy Jews who died, came to Meron to celebrate Lag with . Therefore, they are considered as those who died al Kiddush Hashem, to sanctify Hashem’s name. They went straight up to a place called “The King’s Throne Room.” There are the hallways that lead to the throne room, and then there is the room itself, where the king sits. So too in Heaven – and that’s where they are, right next to the King of Kings. They are there, with Rebbe Shimon himself.
Who could merit such a high level? Only those who were already holy.
One of the holy Jews who passed away that night is Chut own Rabbi Moshe Tzarfati, his memory should be a blessing.
He was one of Rabbi Arush’s oldest students and a pillar of the community. He had his hand in everything. I could write articles and articles about him.
He took the mitzvah to write a Torah scroll to heart, and learned how to write one – a beautiful and particularly small Torah scroll, which is particularly precious, expensive and difficult to do. His Torah scroll is the one primarily used at our shul. He gave classes around the country, including in prisons and army bases.
Rabbi Moshe Tzarfati zt"l
His wife is the famous “Freida” who runs Rabbi Arush’s , emuna distribution, empire. That number you see everywhere, on every book and CD, every Q&A – “To distribute emuna, call 052-224-0696” – that’s Freida’s cell phone. Now, she’s a widow.
More than anything, he was a warrior to distribute emuna. Stories upon stories about him. Lives he saved, marriages he saved – once even the morning before the (Jewish divorce document) was to be given, and so much more.
My husband heard him tell the story of someone who came up to him and said, “Thank you for saving my life.” Moshe was confused, since he didn’t recognize the man. The man pulled a book out of his bag and said, “You gave me this book 25 years ago and saved me from suicide. Now, I’m religious! I’ve been searching for you to say thank you for many years, and I always keep the book with me…”
Another time, he gave a ride to a notable Rosh Yeshiva from Bnei Brak to Jerusalem. On the way, he gave over some of Rabbi Arush’s teachings. The Rosh Yeshiva said, “Excuse me but I have never heard such Torah in my life! Where did you learn this from?!” Moshe said, “Rabbi Shalom Arush.” The Rosh Yeshiva went to meet Rabbi Arush, and became a student of Rabbi Arush himself. The joke is that a hitchhiker wasn’t allowed in the car unless he agreed to listen to Moshe give him a class on the way…
One of his family members said in his eulogy, “He loved every Jew – kippa or not.” He went knocking door to door to put an emuna book into the hands of yet another family. He wanted nothing more than to help others bask in the great light of emuna that had so changed his own life.
His passing leaves a great, gaping hole. Who will distribute those books and CDs that he should have given out, every single day? It needs to be you and me!
As I said, he was a warrior to spread emuna. It is going to take a great effort just to make up for losing him, let alone expand distributing emuna even more. But we must do it in his stead!
We must do it in his memory.
To sponsor distributing emuna books and CDs, click here.
If you would like to buy emuna materials to distribute yourself at bulk rates (plus shipping), please contact the Editor at:
We’ll do the best we can to get your materials out promptly, since of course normally Freida would be the one handling everything but she is currently not in the office while she mourns her husband… but Moshe would never want anything to stop , so someone else is handling it in her stead this week.
And please, do something good for someone else in the merit of Moshe Simcha ben Yisrael and Shoshana…