Torah For Today! This week: Grenfell Tower

Torah For Today! This week: Grenfell Tower

Rabbi Ariel Abel reflects on the Torah's view of the horrific blaze that engulfed a west London tower block this month

Grenfell tower blaze
Grenfell tower blaze


The horrific blaze at Grenfell Tower claimed many lives and the death toll could still rise. So, what does the Torah say about this awful tragedy?

Abraham took every opportunity to avert the destruction of Sodom
and Gomorrah, even when he knew God had every intention to carry out his plan.

The spectre of an entire habitation being engulfed in flames, an event from which only Lot and his family were spared, was too much for Abraham to countenance.

Several hundred years later, God brought 10 plagues upon the Egyptians to avoid the eventuality of
leading them to their deaths drowning at sea.

Even though the crossing of the Red Sea was the deliverance of Israel, God mourned the loss of an entire nation that he had created.

Our sages teach that God cancelled the singing of praises and refused to be accoladed by the angels on that day.

Ultimately, the leaders of government have the responsibility to ensure their citizens live in safety.

This means that the materials used to build the houses in which they live should not be a death trap.

At the close of the holiest prayer on the holiest day of the year, in the Holy of Holies, in the Second Temple in
Jerusalem, the High Priest prayed for the inhabitants of the plain of Sharon, that their homes would not become their graves.

Even though duty-bound to pray for rain at the close of the festival of Succot, the High Priest prayed that the dwellers of mud brick houses should not meet their end in a mudslide, resulting from the shock of a sudden torrent of rain.

We pray that British leadership on all levels acts quickly and effectively to do all that is necessary to avoid such tragedy and preventable loss of life occurring again.

May the mourning be comforted and the injured healed. Amen.

Rabbi Abel is padre to HM Armed Forces and rabbi of the Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation

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