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An example…

“One dramatic instance of the use of the Gra Goral was in the identification of the bodies of 12 members of the Lamed Heh (the Convoy of 35, with the Hebrew letters lamed and heh being equivalent to the numbers 30 and 5, respectively ). The 35 fighters, members of the Haganah pre-state militia, were killed in January 1948, during the War of Independence, at the foot of the Arab village of Tzurif, during their attempt to reach the Etzion Bloc of Jewish settlements, south of Jerusalem. The bodies of the fighters were mutilated by the Arab attackers who killed them, and only in 1951 were the corpses gathered. By that time, it was possible to identify only 23 of the bodies conclusively.

The chief rabbi of Jerusalem at the time, Tzvi Pesach Frank, ruled that the identification of the remaining bodies would be determined by the Gra lottery, and the task was assigned to the revered Jerusalem sage Rabbi Aryeh Levin.

The identification took place in Levin’s beit midrash, in the presence of representatives of the bereaved parents. Twelve candles were lit, the Bible was opened at random seven times and Rabbi Levin ruled that as they stood in front of the remains of each of the fallen fighters, the last verse on the page had to include the name, or an allusion to the name, of each of those whom they were trying to identify. “How amazed everyone was when one of the verses that first appeared was ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein,’ a verse that [in Hebrew] begins with the word ‘to the Lord,'” which is abbreviated in Hebrew with the initials lamed-heh. “Moreover, to everyone’s amazement, every page spoke unequivocally. In the first verse they reached there was a specific name that clearly identified one of the fallen … One after the other … the identity of the fallen was determined.” (Quoted in “A Tzaddik in Our Time: The Life of Rabbi Aryeh Levin,” by Simcha Raz, who also provides the official minutes of the lottery. ) While a lottery was often used for private matters, here the lottery was conducted for the purpose of a decision of great public significance.”