Accidents Don’t Happen

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7 Responses

  1. Ori says:

    Rabbi Avi Shafran: May his name, and that of his ancient namesake, be blotted out,

    Ori: Why do we say this (or the Hebrew equivalent, Yimach Shmo) about our enemies? The only reason anybody still remembers half of them is because we do. If they hadn’t been in the Tanakh, nobody would have remembered Amalek, or Hamman, or Sisera, for example.

  2. Bob Miller says:

    This book, which seems to be out of print, discussed the brutality of a Nazi with the surname Haman (Hamman?) who terrorized the area that included Sanz:

    While Sanz was in western Galicia (in Poland), far from Lithuania, I wonder this was the same Nazi mentioned above by Rabbi Shafran.

  3. Barzilai says:

    Ori: If you want his name forgotten, why memorialize it?

    Barzilai: His name doesn’t matter– he’s dead anyway, and I don’t think he cares whether or not we forget him. What matters is what his name represents. When murderous anti-semitism forever becomes merely a peculiar historical artifact, then his ‘name’ will have been blotted out.

  4. Garnel Ironheart says:

    Or one could argue there’s a perception bias.

    For example, to a pediatrician every child with a fever potentially has meningitis since the kids with simple colds never make it past the ER or family docotor.

    Similarly, when we look for happy events, the ones in Adar just seem to stick out more because of the association of Purim just like we remember certain tragedies more than others because of their association with Tisha B’av.

    Fortunately, we have a God on duty who works 365 days a year (366 in a secular leap year). We should be happy He’s not asking for a vacation.

  5. Daniel Shain says:

    “To those of us who believe in a Higher Power, synchronistic events, no matter how trivial they may seem, are subtle reminders that there is pattern in the universe, evidence of an ultimate plan.”

    While God’s involvement in our lives and “hashgacha pratis” are a fundamental Jewish belief, many Rishonim as I understand it (Rambam, Ramban, Sefer HaIkarim…) wrote that it is dependent on a person’s spiritual level and closeness to God. When we are on a low level, we don’t merit hashgacha pratis, and we may be susceptible to “accidents of nature”.

    I wonder whether nowadays we are on a very low spiritual level, and that some of the things that happen (like recent terrorist attacks, and car accidents) are accidents of nature (that is, not due to hashgacha pratis), and reflect our low spiritual level, rather than a specific message from Hashem. Similarly, we do not merit Negaim and Tzaraas on our bodies and houses anymore. Otherwise, I find it hard to understand why such things happen.

  6. Garnel Ironheart says:

    There’s a story in Mas. Sanhedrin about how the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah wanted to establish that Shlomo HaMelech would not be getting Olam Haba because of his various misdemeanours. After several strong heavenly “hints” were ignored, a Bas Kol came out and said, in effect: “Do you mind? I’m God and I decide who gets in, not you.”

    Who knows the mind of God? Who can decide whether or not our low spiritual level gets us His attention or not? It is for us to fear God and perform His mitzvos to the best of our abilities and trust that He will do his best to show us love and care. Deciding on prequisite standards is presumptious and limits Him far too much.

  7. Yirmeyahu says:

    “Other times, the Adar coincidences are more obviously meaningful, clearly linked to Purim. A few Adars ago, a striking irony emerged from a new book about Joseph Stalin.”

    Well I had heard this before but felt like I should do a little research to try to confirm it, not to second guess Rabbi Shafran but… At first the only date which seemed to pop up was the 5th of March, the day he actually died, but then:

    “The night of 28 February began in the usual manner for Stalin and his closest political circle, Lavrenty Beria, Nikita Khrushchev, Nikolai Bulganin and Georgi Malenkov. They watched a film in the Kremlin then retired to Stalin’s country home, 10 minutes outside Moscow, for yet another night of feasting. By the early hours of 1 March, Stalin’s guests had gone back to their homes in Moscow…..The guards began to get worried, but no one dared to go into his rooms. They had no right to disturb Stalin unless invited into his presence personally. At 6.30 a light came on in Stalin’s rooms, and the guards relaxed a little. But by the time 10 o’clock had chimed they were petrified. Lozgachev was finally sent in to check on Stalin…..The guards rushed to call Stalin’s drinking companions, the Politburo.”

    And from the Library of Congress website:
    “Stalin collapsed on March 1, 1953, and remained unconscious until he died on March 5. Khrushchev said he didn’t receive immediate medical care because Stalin’s advisers at first thought he was drunk and would regain consciousness. “He was on the floor and they brought him [up] on the sofa,” said Khrushchev.”

    It does appear that Stalin “began” dying on March 1st after a drinking party, and it seems that March first that year was in fact Purim:

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