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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Horrific Tragedy in Northern Israel

Picture found on VIN

8 members of one family died in an accident where the vehicle's brakes were not functioning. One 7-year-old girl survived.

The family that was killed in fatal crash R”L resided in Moshav Bar-Yochai in the north, near Kever Rashbi.

The niftarim are Rabbi Rafael Atias, 42, principal of a Tzfat yeshiva, his wife Yehudit, 42, Avia (female-17), a student in a Meron ulpana (high school), twins Elyashiv and Neria Shimon (16), Shira (11), Ta’ir (girl-8) and Noah (girl – 4). Levaya details have not yet been released.

Please continue being mispallel for the lone survivor of the family, Rachel Efrat bat Yehudit.
Arutz Sheva gives some background information about the family:
Yaniv Meir, head of the Bar Yochai town council, remembered the eight members of the Atias family who died in a car crash Monday in an interview with Arutz Sheva. “The family was one of the pillars of the community,” he said. “They were here for almost twenty years and all of them, from the oldest to the youngest, were involved in giving and acts of kindness.”

“The father was the gabbai for many years… he was also the principal of a school in Tzfat. The mother ran a gemach here and helped everyone who was in need. All of the children were raised to be giving, they were leaders in youth movements and helped with every project,” he continued.

“The family left a huge gap behind,” he concluded. “This is a dark day.”
Kikar reports that hours earlier, the family was celebrating a Hanukat Habayit for a new synagogue in Migdal Ha'emek.  Rabbi Atias' father, Rabbi Shimon Atias had the merit of dedicating the new synagogue and bringing Sifrei Torah to it.  The famous Rav Grossman was there.  He related that he had talked to the younger Rabbi Atias at the event and noted that he was holding 7-year-old Rachel the entire time as she wanted to be close to the Sifrei Torah.  He had said at the time, "Of course - the Torah protects and saves."  Later, he recalled emotionally, "I had spoken, but I knew not what I had prophecied.  I had added a blessing to her that כי הם חיינו ואורך ימינו - the Torah is our lives and the length of our days - in the merit of the Torah, you should have length of days and good years."

In that same article, Rav Grossman adds that even though Aharon was silent when Nadav and Avihu died, the rest of the Jewish people cried out.  We too must cry for this tragedy.  More from Rav Grossman here and here, where he said:
Rabbi Grossman added “I am not a navi and dare not attempt to understand HKBH’s cheshbonos, but I know that this family was a kapora for Am Yisrael and we mustn’t say ‘oh another tragic accident, another tragedy’ but we must contemplate the magnitude of the event, the loss, the pain, and each of us must find ways to enhance our avodas Hashem and our actions”.
Another Kikar report says that the girl later recalled, "We read Tehilim and her mother hugged and kissed her before the car overturned."  She was able to survive because she wasn't wearing a seatbelt and was therefore thrown from the vehicle.  (YY adds: Despite this news, I personally recommend seatbelts, which save more lives than ruin them - along with the knowledge that we know and understand Who really saves us.)

Arutz Sheva adds that a Tana"ch was the only thing saved within the burning car.

According to Ladaat, Rav Amar said that the tragedy was due to Hashem's attribute of justice in the world which wipes out the innocent together with the guilty when He sees that we are busy with the mundane aspects of our lives and don't pay attention to the spiritual aspects which are eternal.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky and the Skulener Rebbe seemed to blame it on the Internet being in Jewish homes (h/t Mashiach is Coming).

Apparently, right before the accident, the mother of the family cried out while on the phone with the dispatcher on the emergency line, "אלוקים תציל אותנו, ריבונו של עולם תציל אותנו" [G-d, save us!  Master of the universe, save us!]  Who knows if this prayer had its part in saving the 7-year-old.

Devash and Neshama among others blogged about it.

Kikar has an opinion piece which talks about this tragedy and says that the Final Redemption will come after our cries just as the redemption from Egypt came after our cries.


At Tue May 22, 03:48:00 PM 2012, Anonymous effie said...

just returned from the levaya here in tsfat. there are no words to describe the enormity of this loss. baruch dayan haemes.

At Wed May 23, 03:05:00 AM 2012, Blogger shimonmatisyahu said...

No doubt that the blessing of HaRav Grossman, Shlita for the girl Rachel, was instrumental in saving her life, for he is a major player in the Keiruv bringing Jews closer to Judaism, which is among the top merits that a Jew can have. One thing that can be agreed upon is that being that this tragedy happened on Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the very date that the Jews came to Mt. Sinai to receive the Torah, and it is on the verse recounting this that Rashi notes that the reason why the Torah uses the word Vayichan in the singular describing the Jews' encampment rather than in the plural is because the Jewish people came together K'Ish Echad B'Lev Echad - as one person, as one heart, stressing the aspect of unity that took place on this very date. Unity needs to be practiced - not just in times of tragedy, but in our every day lives.

At Wed May 23, 10:29:00 AM 2012, Blogger Dov Bar-Leib said...

Rav fish wrote someting new about Geulah coming in av please post

At Wed May 23, 07:10:00 PM 2012, Blogger Dov Bar-Leib said...

Oy vaVoy, what a tragedy!! Baruch Dayan Emes!! This is the 2nd time in two months that such a horrendous monumental tragedy has struck one entire family. And my heart bleeds for the enormity of the loss.

But please explain: The Asifa just occurred, in which the ban on the Internet just became halakhah for those who want to abide by its precepts. I have no problem with those who want to abide by the precepts of what was proclaimed at the Asifa. Imposing it on the rest of the Jewish world retroactively to a similar tragedy in Rehovot where six family members perished in a tragic fire is reaching beyond the pale. And to suddenly say it is because Jews have Internet in the home when that Asifa just occurred is even more presumptuous. I really hope that Rav Kanievsky and the Skulener Rebbe are being misquoted by their askanim. And recent history seems to show that this is a common problem as Gedolim age and have less access to the media. And for the sake of Heaven, This Atias tragedy just occurred. Close relatives are sitting shivah as we speak. Who would dare even bring up the Internet as an issue related to this tragedy when the dead have just been laid to rest!!


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