In two separate interviews today in Israel, Gabriel Sassoon, the father of the seven children who died in this weekend’s shocking fire in Midwood, shared his thoughts on the unspeakable tragedy that destroyed his family.
Sassoon, who stunned the world by publicly accepting the divine decree with love, spoke on Radio Kol Chai and the Mabat News program, publicly proclaiming that it is his love of Hakadosh Baruch Hu that has sustained him during the darkest of hours.
Sassoon said that he hoped the death of his seven children will be a kapara for something and that they won’t have died in vain, and he hopes that the outpouring of love that has enveloped the Jewish nation continues in the form of both achdus and ahavas chinam.
“I saw today the greatness of the Jewish nation,” said Sassoon. “I thought ‘Who will come to the levaya?’ but I saw so many people and I was proud to be part of the Jewish nation.”
Sassoon said that the same godliness that was evident in the faces of his children can also be found in this catastrophe.
“I love my children,” said Sassoon. “I know that they are, as I said at the levaya, the image of Hashem. There are things in which is it easier to see the tzelem Elokim, like in children. But G-d can be found everywhere, even in these sacrifices. It is difficult to deal with, so we make the bracha of Dayan Haemet.”
Sassoon acknowledged that he has no idea how he will go on.
“Now it is easy to relate but I don’t know how things will be in a week,” observed Sassoon. “How will I sit at my Shabbos table without my children? How can I fulfill the mitzvah of v’higadita l’vincha on Pesach?”
Neither Sassoon’s wife nor his daughter, both of whom remain hospitalized, are aware yet of the devastating losses that have decimated their family.
“How will they deal with this?” wondered Sassoon. “How will I deal with this? We will have to cross that bridge when we come to it.”
Sassoon noted that his children were the light of his life.
“I had such nachas from my children. They were really special children. I have had difficulties previously in my life but they never bothered me because I had my kids. They happiness that they brought me made my life easy, but now I don’t have them. I don’t know what I will do. We were privileged to have children like this.
“I worked hard. My wife worked hard. Our lives were all about our children. I know that I can say to Hakadosh Baruch Hu that the children that you asked us to watch for you are as pure and as holy now as when you gave them to us.”
According to Sassoon, his wife is facing a lengthy recovery having sustained burns to approximately 50 percent of her body.
Both Gayle Sassoon and her daughter Tzipora jumped from the windows of their Bedford Avenue home to escape the blaze, with Mrs. Sassoon making her way across the street to neighbors in the hopes of getting help and saving her children.
Tzipora Sassoon is faring better than her mother and Gabriel Sassoon is returning Wednesday to observe the rest of shiva in New York so that he can spend time with his daughter in the hospital.
“My daughter woke up a little before I left,” said Sassoon. “She wanted to know how her mother is doing. I told her she is in a different hospital where they are taking care of her. She wanted to know about the rest of the family. I didn’t know what to say.”
Sassoon is requesting that the public daven for both his wife, Gila bas Francis and his daughter, Tzipora bas Gila.
“The tefillot help,” said Sassoon simply.