Ethics

For the week ending 31 May 2008 / 26 Iyyar 5768

The "Pirate Pyres" of Lag B'Omer

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: Regarding Lag B'Omer that we recently celebrated there were, as usual, many youngsters making bonfires in celebration of this special day. Since there is virtually no adult supervision of these fires there is a serious danger to the safety of children who are irresistibly drawn to throwing something into the conflagration. I am aware that it is futile to try to stop these once-a-year pyromaniacs, so what is the right thing to do?

Answer: Your concern is well-founded even though it is limited to the "pirate pyres" lit by kids and does not really relate to the official communal ones overseen by responsible adults.

The only suggestion we can make is to approach one or two of the youngsters and ask them their names and addresses. Their parents should then be apprised of the danger facing their children and urged to either summon them home or undertake the responsibility of adult supervision. Should the children or the parents who have thus been approached prove to be defiantly uncooperative, it would be in place to issue a gentle warning that you may have to call the fire department to put out the fire.

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