How to make sense of it? I will try. But this we know at least 45 dead, children too all trampled, crushed suffocated in a stampede in a narrow corridor on Mount Meron where 100,000 Haredi Jews, those who tremble at the word of God, came to commemorate at his supposed tomb the assumed anniversary of the death of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai mystic of the 2nd century of whom it is told that his criticism of Roman rule marked him for execution, and forced him to hide in a cavern for thirteen years surviving on only dates and carob fruit and that finally one day seeing a bird flying free from a net set by a hunter Shimon took the bird’s escape as an omen that God would not forsake him and he too made his escape. The great sage died it is said On the 33rd day of the counting Of the Omer, that time between The holiday of Passover and The Feast of Weeks, a harvest festival, when according to tradition Moses brought down from Mount Sinai the Word of God to The Children of Israel, and this 33rd day is called Lag B’Omer a day to rejoice, as all petitions shall be answered as it is believed on that very day of his death bar Yochai revealed the secrets of the mystical Kabbalah, bringing light into the world for which the fervent set bonfires, dancing, singing chanting ecstatically through the night remembering the words he uttered that anyone who sees Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is certain that he will be in the World to Come.
It is difficult to understand another’s passion for their beliefs which leads them to do that which appears so foreign to so many. We need to focus on that which binds us as humans. We need to reconsider viewing others solely as to their difference. This poem attempts to view the matter with an appreciation for the depth of belief which leads to such a strong commitment to act in a certain way, even to the point of discounting potential untoward consequences.
©2021 Howard Richard Debs
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