The Rebbe’s Son: “I Said Shema With The Teen Aside Me, He Didn’t Have Time To Finish”

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The Shotzer Rebbe visits his son, Rav Mendel Moskovitz, in the hospital.

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Several days have passed since the Meron tragedy and more and more testimonies of the unfathomable moments of that night are being told.

The youngest son of the Shotzer Rebbe, Rav Menachem Mendel Moskovitz, the Rav of Kehillas Azamra in Tzfat, survived those terrible moments. He was found unconscious by rescue services and due to his precarious condition, was flown to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. From his hospital bed, he told the media what he experienced.

“We were there by the hadlalka and there was terrible crowding so we wanted to leave,” he told Channel 13 News. “I was with my son and we pushed our way to the exit. We knew that after two minutes we’ll exit into the open air and everything will be okay.”

But instead, Reb Moskovitz and his 13-year-old son were pushed into the narrow walkway right when the disaster began. “People were screaming that they’re falling. I also fell in a pile of people and the moment you fell, there was no way of getting up.”

Rav Moskovitz said that as he was fighting for every breath of air in the narrow passageway, he could hear his son screaming but there was nothing he could do to help him. “My son was screaming: ‘Abba, Abba, don’t go!'”

The Rav told how he began to say Shema Yisrael together with the teenager lying next to him but the latter didn’t manage to finish before he took his last breath. He described how he lay there for long moments while all around him he saw people taking their last breaths.

Slowly, the calls for help stopped and the silence of death prevailed – “the most frightening silence,” he said.  During those moments as he was fighting for a breath of air, he davened that he and his son would be saved.

“I felt them [rescue services] beginning to remove people from on top of me and then I hear someone scream: ‘Be careful of the bodies.’ After the Rav heard that, he began panicking about what happened to his son.

Rav Moscovitz then lost consciousness and was flown to the hospital by rescue services.. He woke up after 24 hours but initially, he wasn’t able to speak yet. He motioned for someone to bring him a pen and paper and asked whether his son was alive. When he received a positive answer, his recovery began.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


2 COMMENTS

  1. These stories are flowing in and although they’re heartwrenching,
    the Chizuk in Emuna I’m getting from how people behaved then and since is absolutely humbling.

    I ask myself, are so fickle, so vain, that Hashem must teach us to us to have Emuna in Him by bringing such terrible events?

  2. The “teen” next to him was the 18 yr old Elhadad boy, and he went today to be menachem avel and tell them about his last moments, which gave their father lots of chizuk…