Saturday, August 24, 2019


Oh the Tragedies, the Tragedies

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

"a leading sephardi posek in Eretz Yisrael, commented on the numerous tragedies that have occurred during bein hazmanim."
Bein HaZmanim is a vacation period from yeshiva and kollel, and the majority of ultra Orthodox Jews who spend time exclusively focused on Torah head out with their families, if married, or as groups of single men or single women, if not married, for some summer break time.
"The ran was asked about the tragedies: “Shalom Kvod HaRav. From day to day we hear about children drowning, and also parents of little children, from the day we began bein hazmanim. Is there a connection?”
In his response, the rav said, “I do not know what is going on? Only when there is less protection from lomdei Torah (those learning Torah) we must be extra careful"
Although Bein HaZmanim ends either this week or next week (depending on the institution), Mystical Paths would like to make some practical suggestions about "what is going on" as well:
1. If you don't normally go hiking, pick a guided hike or pay for a guide or at least verify the trail you are taking is rated "easy".  If you are hiking with children, make sure the trail is rated for children.  Otherwise you and your children may find yourself lost in the wilderness, hiking a dangerous trail and falling off, or getting dehydrated. 
2. Many seemingly fun activities also carry moderate risk, which is increased for people inexperienced with them.  For example, mountain biking on actual hills and mountains, ATV'ing, even long road trips driven by people inexperienced with many hours of driving (and not realizing the dangers of tired driving).  Once again, if you are inexperienced doing such activities, make sure you choose "easy" options and have professionals guiding you - as well as using full safety gear.
3. Water activities for those who only visit water sites briefly every year also carry significant risk.  And parents with multiple children will quickly be overwhelmed and unable to actively supervise the group.  Lifevests and sticking to areas with lifeguards may be annoying, but when problems occur on the water it's not a bruise or a broken bone, it's survival or not.
Make sure you know if your water location choices are safe or not, and are supervised or not.  As a practical example, Israel's beaches are beautiful and almost every coastal city offers a separate kosher beach as well as many unsupervised areas.  For privacy purposes a Charedi family may want to head to an unsupervised area -- but Israel's beaches suffer 40-60 drownings every year as rough water and rip tides are not unusual.  Because of such risk those headed to the beach in Israel are strongly advised to only go to lifeguard supervised beaches.
As the ultra-orthodox community has become better off economically, the ability to go on nicer trips and do activities such as boating or ATV'ing are within financial reach of more families, but that means more people at risk of injury as the ultra-orthodox community is unlikely to have experience boating or ATV'ing beyond these brief periods.  
Be wise, be careful, protect your life and the lives of your family or students or friends and the learn the risk of your activity, and use supervised activities particularly with children.


  1. We are in the last days of this world as we know it, and permit me to say, there should be no “vacation” from our duty to bring Mashiach. We bring him by doubling-down on Torah study and gemilus hasodim, acts of chessed and charity. It is no longer life as “usual”, because the usual is “unusual”. One must be blinded to not see what is happening. Doing the usual leaves one a target for sakona, accident or death. Children need to be told serious things, and they will accept them, in some cases better than the adults. This is serious business. Antisemitism is rampant, education of Jewish children is being threatened with learn secular ways or get arrested. No joke. Not teaching them secular brands children as truants, and lands parents in jail — so threatens NYS Ed Dept! At the same time children (girls) are being denied entrance to Jewish schools!


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