International cooperation, good deeds and prayers to save stranded soccer team
As the world cautiously celebrates the rescue of four children who have been trapped in a cave in Thailand, with nine people still underground, the country’s chief rabbi marvels at the Divine assistance and international efforts that made the moment possible.
“It is beautiful to see the unifying consensus that these lives must be saved,” Chief Rabbi Yosef Chaim Kantor, who has directed Chabad in Thailand since 1993, told Chabad.org. “The effort has transcended the cultural and political divides that have become so deeply entrenched in our society. Representatives of so many countries came together to contribute in any way they can to keep the boys alive and strategize for their rescue.”
The rabbi has been in contact with BBC video journalist Danny Bull, a member of the Bangkok Chabad Young Jewish Professional community, who had been at the site for nearly two weeks.
“I saw them bringing the boys to the hospital,” said Bull, speaking via WhatsApp near midnight local time on Sunday evening. “It was just a miracle that they were alive, well and on their way to getting the care they need.”
Bull reports that locals, journalists and tourists joined together in exuberant celebration upon seeing the ambulances pull up. He notes that the rabbi had shared with him that the rescue took place just weeks after Jewish communities around the world read the Torah portion of Korach, when the earth opened its mouth to swallow up Korah and his rebellious cohorts. This time, however, the earth opened up and allowed the boys to come out alive.
An international team of more than 90 divers, along with hundreds of other emergency personnel, are taking part in the effort. Eight boys, ages 11 to 16, who are part of a soccer team remain trapped with their 25-year-old coach. Rescue efforts will continue at dawn.
“This is the story that the world needs,” the rabbi responded upon receiving the update from Bull. “The story is not over yet, and we are still praying for the safe evacuation of the rest of the team, but for now, we are thankful to G d and praying for more good news, and urge everyone to continue their prayers, good deeds and tzedakah [charity] on behalf of those still trapped.”
By: Menachem Posner