Hundreds of mourners were in attendance Monday afternoon, as the father of seven children from the same family who died in a tragic accident over Shabbat issued a tearful eulogy at the final stop of their funeral procession for burial in Jerusalem.
Elian (16), David (12), Rivka (11), Yehoshua (10), Moshe (8), Sara (6), and Yaakov (5) Sassoon died after a hot plate in their house in Flatbush, New York apparently malfunctioned. Orthodox Jews leave hot plates on during Shabbat to keep food warm without lighting a fire, in accordance with Jewish law.
The blaze trapped the family inside their home as they slept.
The mother of the family, Gail, 45, and daughter Tzipora, 14, escaped by jumping out of a window. They are currently in critical condition in a local hospital.
The funeral procession began Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn.
Their father began his eulogy with a phrase from the Song of Songs (6:2): "My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies."
Referring to the rabbinical interpretation of the book as a metaphor for the Jewish people's relationship with God, he noted that the rabbis viewed the flowers as a metaphor for the righteous.
"God went down into His garden and picked the flower at the height of its beauty, before it began to wither," he said. "He wanted to catch the righteous man at the height of his righteousness. so he would stay that way (forever)."
"He came here to pick seven flowers. Why seven? Was one not enough?" he cried.
"There were no other children like these, so pure, such righteous people," their father added.
"We are the nation of Israel... Our joy is belongs to each and every (Jew) - our sadness belongs to each and every one. We are all together."
"From an individual's perspective it is impossible to understand... we lost our children, but the souls of my children live on in my heart and my wife's heart," he continued. "But not just with us - in the hearts of the entire nation... They are there."