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May 31, 2021

The Meron Effect

In light of the Meron tragedy, Kikar is reporting that the regional council Mevo'ot Hachermon is canceling the upcoming yahrtzeit ceremony celebration (aka hilula, however you want to translate that) of Rabbi Yonatan ben Uziel at Amuka.

The entire site of Amuka will be shut down from this Thursday morning at 5am through Sunday evening at 7pm. The entire site will be closed down and the roads leading to Amuka will be barricaded. Additionally, camping, or otherwise sleeping, in the forests surrounding Amuka will be banned within 800 meters of the site.

Basically, the entire place will be shut down. No foot traffic, no vehicular traffic, no camping out there, no nothing.

The Regional Council people say the entire structure is dangerous and illegal, built with no permits. They say the supporting walls are crumbling and at risk of collapse. The roads leading up to Amuka, the say, are dangerous narrow roads with pastoral views but no safety barriers and with extremely dangerous curves and these roads cannot handle the high volume of traffic of such an event.

And so it begins.... the Meron Effect. Nobody wants to take the risk after what happened in Meron. Especially with nobody really doing a serious investigation, meaning nothing is going to get fixed any time soon, whether in the structural area or in the relevant administrative areas. It is easier to just shut it down and say it is dangerous. And presumably it really is, especially if it is built illegally and haphazardly. I have not been there in several years, but if it has not changed much, the main structure was a small room and then there were some aluminum-based add-ons adjuncts. I don't know how big this hilula gets - obviously not as many people as Rashbi on Lag B'Omer, but it is definitely easier to just shut it down and declare it dangerous rather than take the risk.

I have no idea if the Amuka site is controlled by the State or if it too, like Meron, is controlled by some sort of hekdesh.

If the entire structure is in danger of collapsing, perhaps it should be shut down more permanently and renovated, only being reopened after it is up to code and declared safe.

It seems to me the Meron Effect will snowball and this will keep happening to hilulas and similar sites (kivrei tzaddikim, etc) until someone takes actual responsibility and ensures that safety standards are up to par.

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1 comment:

  1. ...or until Am Yisrael finally outgrows this strange cult of grave-worship... and maybe thinks of returning to its true holy site!


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