What Did Hagaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Say About The Meron Disaster?

HaRav Chaim Kanievsky: (Photo: Shuki Lehrer)

HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky’s words about the unfathomable Meron tragedy were recorded by his son, HaRav Yitzchak Shaul, in a letter publicized on Tuesday and confirmed by HaRav Chaim, who signed the end of the letter and wrote: “These words are correct.”

“I sat with Avi Mori [HaRav Chaim] after the terrible tragedy in Meron on Lag B’Omer,” Rav Yitzchak Shaul wrote in the letter. “I said: ‘Everyone is asking, and are asking me to ask you: ‘Why did Hashem do this to us and what can we be metakein to stop the fearsome midas hadin?'”

HaRav Chaim answered: “It was a gezeiras Shamayim and we’re not aware of the cheshbonos of Shamayim.”

“What do we need to be metakein?” Rav Yitzchak Shaul asked.

“To be mechazeik b’Torah and in hasmadas haTorah,” HaRav Chaim responded and repeated this sentence several times.

“And women should be mechazeik b’tznius,” the Gadol said.

HaRav Chaim added: “People aren’t mapkid enough in the halachos of netilas yadayim for a seudah in all its details. And we have to be mechazeik to have kavana when we say brachos in order to feel kirvas Elokim.”

[MERON VICTIMS: 24 Bochurim And Boys, 4 Mir Talmidim, At Least 6 US Citizens, 2 Canadians]

[HEARTBREAKING: List Of Niftarim R”L Killed In Meron Crush Released]

[OUTRAGE GROWING: Israel – Where Is Your Compassion To Parents Of Students Traumatized By Meron Disaster?]

[How Exactly Did The Terrible Disaster At Meron Occur?]

[Father’s Heartrending Hesped For His Son: “You’re Now In Rebbe Shimon’s Yeshiva”]

[WATCH: 10-Yr.-Old Meron Survivor: “I Cried Out Shema Yisrael”]

[“People Were Crushed To Death Before My Eyes” – Survivors Of The Harrowing Scenes Talk]

[Chareidi Reporter Warned Of This Very Tragedy In 2018!]

[State Comptroller Says He’s Launching Probe Of Meron Disaster]

[The Chilling Letter A Meron Victim Left Before His Death]

[Last Meron Victim Is Buried After His Parents Arrive From Argentina]

[HEARTBREAKING IMAGE: Child Of Meron Victim Makes Toy Representing His Father Z”L]

[11-Year-Old Seriously Injured At Meron Is Released From The Hospital]

[CHILLING: Look What Was Found Inside Siddur Of Victim Of Meron Tragedy]

[Journalist Published Eye-Witness Reports Which May Explain How The Trampling in Meron Began]

[Meron Victims: Elhadad Brothers, 12 & 18, Buried Next To Rashbi]

[One Of The Meron Victims Was MK Eichler’s Brother-In-Law]

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. To clarify an important point:

    Rav Chaim shlita is saying the we have no idea WHY. It’s a Gezeira.

    Yet, of course it’s altogether fitting and proper , even required , for us to look for ways to improve in the aftermath of such an event. And he is giving us direction in that regard.

    Anyone who would quote Rav Chaim a saying that laxity in these areas was the cause of the tragedy is misunderstanding his words.

  2. The event occurred on Lag b’.omer… שלא נהגו כבוד זה לזה

    The message to me is that we should be treating other Jews, even those that are not our עדה/kippa /etc, with כבוד

  3. @chevedico I love how the Gadol Hador just said that it’s a gezeirah without a cheshbon that we can understand, and YOU are saying that it’s because we don’t respect other groups! Obviously all Yidden should respect each other, but they died for not respecting EACHOTHER. It does not state that they died for not respecting the students of OTHER rabbanim.
    Besides, if there is one group in Israel that is treated with the LEAST respect, it’s the chareidim!

  4. Maskildoresh: Thank you for making a critically important distinction between “why’ a tragedy occurs and perhaps what we as individuals might resolve to minimize the likelihood of future tragedies in the way we live our daily lives. Some time back, we had a regular poster here who could always be relied upon to immediately post after any tragedy linking it to women not be sufficiently makpid on tzinius.

  5. I think I’ll go with R’ Chaim on this one.

    A. Do you think that R. Chaim’s lesson is the *only* one you could derive from the tragedy?
    B. Even if you answer the first question in the positive, would it be wrong to take the lesson from chevedico’s post and treat each other with more kavod anyway?

    The Wolf

  6. *Sivan Rahav-Meir / The Daily Portion, Emor / For the ascent of their souls, let’s put safety first*

    • Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

    Shavua tov. I do not understand how our accounts are settled in heaven, but perhaps on this difficult morning it’s worthwhile to settle our accounts right here on earth. Here, on the ground, in the face of the horrible disaster in Meron. Will we simply take upon ourselves the obligation to diligently obey safety rules? To be concerned about elementary security measures? We should never minimize them and must always pay close attention to the Torah’s decree: Venishmartem me’od lenafshoteichem (Be very protective of your lives).

    The Arad Festival disaster, the Maccabiah disaster, the Carmel disaster, the Nahal Tzafit disaster, the Versailles disaster, and now the Meron disaster. They all remind us – at the price of our blood – to make sure we receive an engineer’s seal of approval on our structures, to plan in advance for an emergency evacuation if needed, and to limit the number of people allowed to enter public events. This is not about a cumbersome bureaucracy of yekke nudniks, or about not appreciating the holiness of Meron. This is a sacred mitzvah in which we are meant to excel.

    And so, too, in our personal lives, perhaps we need to change for safety’s sake: to install railings and security bars, to drive at the speed limit, to check our tires’ air pressure. To do so is an obligation. To do so is halacha. To do so is critical. In fact, is not adoption and strict enforcement of safety protocols the best way to ensure that the souls of those who perished will have an ascent on high, as well as to protect all of us from such tragedies in the future?

    In the end, this is all connected to the Torah portion, Emor, that we read this past Shabbat. One of its main subjects is the sanctity of life. There is an emphasis on those prohibitions that separate the Kohanim, the leaders of the people, from contact with death. Until today, Kohanim do not enter cemeteries. Our commentators explain that while Egyptian culture sanctified death (through mummification and burial in pyramids), our spiritual center of gravity would differ, as a Jewish culture would be built that would sanctify life, would value life above everything else, and would protect life at all costs. I can only hope that – for the sake of these 45 precious souls – we do not only strengthen our spiritual side through soul searching and self-refinement. It is essential that this catastrophe also bring our awareness regarding our physical safety to a new level.

  7. would have added alot if they could have asked The Gadol for some word of Chizuk for the families in Aveilus and the those in suffering…perhaps they still will

  8. to Mommy10 – i understand your point – it is possible that R’Chaim is unaware of the safety issues and the number of visitors to Meron for Lag B’omer. He is totally dedicated to his diligent torah learning and is made aware of current affairs by a small group of family/gabbaim who look after him with great dedication and ensure that he can continue his torah study with little interruption