Tragedy struck at Haulover Beach when two rabbis drowned. I am saddened by this loss and follow Jewish custom of expressing prayer: May God comfort the bereaved.
According to the article, the rabbis chose that area “because it was secluded and they could … comply with Orthodox Judaism’s ‘modesty laws.’ ”
That spot, however, is known for rip currents. Signs read: “Swim in guarded area only;” “No lifeguard on duty.”
Which Jewish law (Halacha) takes precedence — the lifestyle prohibition against seeing women immodestly dressed, or the law to preserve life, even if this means swimming in the guarded, populated area?
At its core, Jewish law mandates protecting life. Engendering risk violates this central provision.
Halacha also commands Jews to observe secular statutes. Breaking the law of the land (or beach) means breaking the laws of Judaism.
I appreciate that the article strove to explain the Jewish customs that led the rabbis to choose a secluded area.
Tragically, that selection cost them their lives.
To depict Jewish practice accurately requires elucidation of the overarching teaching of Jewish law.
When courting danger, preserve life, not lifestyle.
Rabbi Mark H. Kula, Bet Shira Congregation,