The Surfside Tragedy


Hi Rabbi,
I write while thinking about the ongoing rescue/recovery efforts after the Surfside building collapse. So many caring people are risking so much to help in any way possible. I am not asking why it happened, but would like to hear your thoughts on this. Thank you for this valuable service.



  1. It is difficult to know what to say, besides offering our prayer that God will answer the prayers of anyone affected by this horrific tragedy.

    Judaism teaches that we should look for meaning in everything that happens in our lives and in the world. We may not find it, but that does not mean we should not ponder its meaning.

    Our Rabbis teach that if someone, anyone, is suffering in any way, they should review their actions. There must be some way that this suffering can give meaning to a piece of one’s being that needs to be nurtured. According to Jewish law, if someone suffers a great personal loss, they should say, “Blessed is He, the true Judge.”

    There is a wonderful Chassidic story about Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchov. He once announced that he would speak in the synagogue, after the prayer service, on the subject of, “What I, Levi Yitzchak, would do if I were God.” There was much excitement about the topic and the synagogue was filled to overflowing. When the prayer service concluded, he dramatically made his way to the lectern and in an emotional voice said, “If I, Levi Yitzchak were God, I would…do…exactly what God does! The problem is that I am not God, am not all-seeing and all-knowing, and that’s why I don’t understand so much of what He is doing.” Essentially, that is what we mean when we say the blessing that “Blessed be He, the true Judge.”

    As Jews, we are ever hopeful that every dramatic event will bring us closer to a time when God’s presence is openly revealed. In the meantime, we pray for the well-being of everyone involved in any way, and hope and pray for the very best.

    Best wishes from the Team