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March 23, 2015 12:59 pm

Brooklyn Father of 7 at Jerusalem Funeral: ‘We Cannot Understand the Master Plan’

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The scene of Saturday's fire in an Orthodox Jewish home in Brooklyn. The seven children who died in the fire were buried on Monday in Israel. Photo: YouTube.

JNS.org – The seven children of the Sassoon family who died over the weekend in a fire at their home in Brooklyn were laid to rest at Jerusalem’s Har Hamenuhot Cemetery on Monday.

“I paid the ultimate sacrifice. Here before you are seven innocent lambs,” their father, Gabriel Sassoon, who was away at a conference at the time of the fire, said at their funeral service, The Jerusalem Post reported.

“They were such innocent children. This was a sacrifice for the Jewish people. I thought about my children’s future, I was looking forward to their mitzvot, I wanted grandchildren, but the Lord thought otherwise—to take them as a sacrifice at the height of their beauty. In the end it is for their benefit and for our benefit, but we cannot understand the master plan,” he said.

The Sassoon family had lived in Israel until moving to Brooklyn a year-and-a-half ago. Gabriel’s wife, Gayle, and daughter Siporah, 15, escaped the fire by jumping from a second-floor window. They remain in critical condition at a New York hospital. Authorities attributed the fire to an unknown malfunction in an electric hot plate, which is used by observant families to keep food warm on Shabbat. The Sassoon family’s victims included Eliane, 16; Rivkah, 11; Sara, 6; David, 12; Yeshua, 10; Moshe, 8; and Yaakob, 5.

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  • Teri Frenchak

    None of us can understand why things so horrific happen in this world. As a Christian, I could never live this life without my belief in God, even when I don’t understand his master plan. We all have our cross to bear, and I pray for those that lose that faith. God bless those left behind in this terrible tragedy.

  • Many people have communicated with me their sadness regarding the tragedy of seven children dying in the house fire in Brooklyn. They are seeking answers to why this happened, how could G-d allow it and is there a G-d. Recently I sent an article I wrote regarding Rabbi Soloveitchik’s view of evil as it relates to the Holocaust. I am not smart enough to give anyone an answer regarding the deaths of these children. I am a father and grandfather and cried with you as we heard the news. G-d forbid this happened to my family, would I still believe in G-d? My answer is I don’t know. My parents lost their entire families in the Holocaust, yet they still believed in G-d. My father lost his first wife and two children. When I asked him why he still believed in G-d , he answered, “The Holocaust was predicted in the Bible, Deut. 28:15-68.”, the Tochacha section. Try and get a book which was recently published, “A Divine Madness, ” by Rabbi Avigador Miller.
    Belief in G-d is personal. It seems to me, without going into great theology, that one has the choice to believe or not. I chose to believe and became Torah observant as a teenager because I believe the Torah was given by G-d. For me personally, it is better to live a life believing in G-d. I am merely offering my perspective. This is not meant to be a discussion on whether there is or is not a G-d or if the Torah was given by G-d. The best answer I can give is that only G-d knows.
    Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

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