The Crushing at the Funeral
We experienced a double-sadness during the Pesah period when we are commanded to be joyous. First, we lost one of the greatest Poskim of the generation - Rav Shmuel Halevi Wosner ZT"L. Next, we lost a 27-year-old Avrech - R' Mordechai Gerber, Z"L, who was crushed during the funeral of Rav Wosner ZT"L.
A couple of people pointed out that this was not the first time someone got crushed by a crowd of people on Pesah. The gemara in Pesahim 64b (Daf | Text | English [pdf p.209]) talks about Pesah Me'uchin due to the enormous crowds in the Beit Hamikdash on Pesah eve:
(It is interesting to note that the gemara that follows has a similar story during the reign of King Aggripa, which talks about "Pesah Me'uvin" (with a ב) [and there is a Haggada by the Kenesset Hagedola by the same name], but the Tosefta - without the emandation of the Gra - also calls that story "Pesah Me'uchin". See also Eicha Rabbati, Parsha 1, and footnote 52.)תנו רבנן מעולם לא נתמעך אדם בעזרה חוץ מפסח אחד שהיה בימי הלל שנתמעך בו זקן אחד והיו קוראין אותו פסח מעוכיןOur Rabbis taught: No man was ever crushed in the Temple Court except on one Passover in the days of Hillel, when an old man was crushed, and they called it ‘The Passover of the crushed’.
It is interesting that the Rama MiPano says that this old man is a Gilgul. The Seder Hadorot also quotes this. This gilgul was as follows:
First, he was the Sar Ha'ofim in the story of Yosef. As the Midrash says near the end of Vayeshev, the Sar Hamashkim dreamt and related about Israel's redemption, but the Sar Ha'ofim dreamt and related about Israel's subjugation to the nations. Because he saw the bad of the Jewish people, he was punished by his dream being interpreted negatively, and he was hung.
Next, he was the scoffing captain who didn't believe Elisha's prophecy that the prices would go down (see Melachim Bet 7:1-2, 16-20). Elisha told him that he wouldn't eat from the lowered prices, and in fact, in the end, he was trampled to death. He too saw the bad of the Jewish people by saying that the people don't deserve a miracle. Hashem doesn't tolerate bad speech against the Jewish people, causing him to be trampled. (Elsewhere, the Rama MiPano says that the scoffing captain became the donkey of R' Yosi of Yokerat - see Ta'anit 23b-24a)
Third, he was the old man in the Azara who was trampled on Erev Pesah during Pesah Me'uchin. The Rama Mipano says that he too had an evil eye against the Jewish people by seeing the large population of people.
Until here is what the Rama Mipano says.
Perhaps, we can humbly say that R' Mordechai Gerber's death was a Tikkun for this man. Not that R' Mordechai Gerber did anything wrong ח"ו - just the opposite - it's for what he did right. Perhaps, the message is his 27 years on this earth were to show how we show the greatness of the Jewish people. Here's an Avreich who was a Talmid of Rav Wosner ZT"L and Rav Wosner was even Mesader Kiddushin at his wedding. He needed to be part of the 100,000 people at the funeral not because of any evil eye to see a large population, but because he needed to pay his respects to a great man, showing the greatness of the Jewish people. This can perhaps be Metakein the Sar Ha'ofim who saw the exiles of the Jewish people, the scoffing captain who didn't believe Elisha's prophecy, and the elderly man who died when displaying the evil eye seeing the large population of people who were bringing the Korban Pesah.
Perhaps, this is why this occurred on Pesah and why he died via trampling - to show the connection. During these End of Days, Hashem is correcting all that needs correcting.
A few gematrias are in order too:
שר האופים + words + Kollel = 645 = השליש
עזרה בפסח מעוכין + letters = 642 = שר האופים
שר האופים + words + letters + the 27 years of the Avreich's life = 679 = מרדכי גרבר
Of course, this is all conjecture, and not meant to show any disrespect to the Meit - just the opposite - to show respect to him. Yehi Zichro Baruch.