Aug 6, 2009

Avoiding Disaster

During the summer season, and any other vacation period but especially the summer because it is "chofesh hagadol" - the long vacation, we hear far too often about mishaps on family or group trips in which people had to be evacuated from hikes they got lost on or dehdrtaed, and in the worst case scenarios we sometimes hear of serious injuries and deaths from dehydration or falling from cliffs, etc.

Tonight I saw a good example of how this happens.

We went out to prepare for our crazy 40km run. My part of the preparation included dropping off water bottles at the 19km and 25km points of the run, and leaving my car at the 25km point in case of emergency.

At the 25km point, there is a family with about 10 kids. I couldn't really see as it was dark, so 10 is a guess, but there were a bunch of them. I also did not see a father, but the mother was there. It is already dark, as the area we were is not lit up at all, and it is only getting darker.

This family had no idea how they were getting out of there. They had finished their tiyul, and had no way home. They were asking us where they could get buses from, and they were almost willing to come back with us to Bet Shemesh so they could take buses to Jerusalem from there.

When you go out to a tiyul, and you make no plans how you are going to get home, and you then let the tiyul continue until nightfall when it is dark (still with no ride out), that is a recipe for disaster. Considering the amount of accidents we unfortunately hear about, people need to plan better and not just say "b'ezras hashem" as they were saying.


  1. Usually, the most accurate translation of "b'ezras hashem" in these situations is "with the help of other people".

    Yes, I know it's a mitzvah to help someone in distress, but just like it's not a positive thing to make oneself poor to provide others the opportunity to do the mitzvah of tzedaka, there's nothing good about getting oneself into a jam by acting irresponsibly, and then feel good about yourself because of all the mitzvah opportunities you created.

    ps - Maybe they promised to five to Kupat Ha'ir right before you showed up!

  2. Rafi, I find that many people live their entire lives as one big "b'ezras Hashem". You seem to be making vastly different choices than the majority of charedim living in Israel today and most of them are marked by the idea that you need to take responsibility for yourself and your family. This idea does not seem incredibly prevelent in the charedi community.

    I would love to hear more about how you made the choices you did (re: career, schooling for your children, etc even your jogging hobby) with regard to the charedi imperative to "conform or else".


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