"Beschaert" Destiny Plane Crash Flight 3407
The recent plane crash 3407 gave us all fruit for thought and much sadness and introspection. What is life and death all about? What awaited these innocent unsuspecting souls? Why did it happen? Why did fifty people have to die without rhyme or reason?
were good people of all ages, many religions and beliefs, with many happy
memories and anticipation that they would soon be at home.
Their loved ones were awaiting them eagerly.
They had hurt no one, had no inkling what was to happen to them, and did
not know that within moments before landing they would be burned to charcoal and
dust by enormous flames shooting out of the womb of the plane.
Each person had a story to tell; each wanted to live; each was important
to those who loved them.
of the passengers comes to mind who lost her life in this colossal disaster.
She was well known by all of us who live in our Buffalo Jewish community.
Susan Wehle left in a happy frame of mind to enjoy a rather brief
vacation in her hectic life as a beloved cantor.
Her beautiful voice and the woman who possessed this talent was loved by
us all. She made both children and
adults happy when the sound of her beautiful voice reached our ears. Her Nigunim
were both traditional and new. She
was never afraid to try something unusual. She studied hard, and not too long ago took Hebrew courses at
the university to perfect her already good pronunciation of the language in
which she performed. She
was only fifty-five years old, and had much of her life to live and enjoy.
She had raised two good sons into adulthood, and had helped many children
through their bat and bar mitzwah jitters.
She had a lev tov (good heart) and she gave of herself willingly and
wholeheartedly. The life that Susan
and the other passengers of Flight 3407 left behind are lost to all of us.
Why and what for and how will forever remain a mystery.
What occurred the night
of the terror and deaths takes us back to two writings.
It reminds us of the well known poem by John Donne, and after which
Hemingway named his book “For
Whom the Bell Tolls”, in which one line answers the query for whom the bell
tolls: “It tolls for thee.”
(Hemingway himself chose his own death by suicide.
He shot himself).
In addition the Hebrew
prayer that we recite on the High Holiday Yom
Kippur states that human beings are beschaert an unknown ultimate destiny: Who
shall perish by fire, by water, by sword, by hunger, by thirst, by earthquake,
by plague, by strangling, by stoning? Very frightening thoughts, each one.
It is of course emotionally very unhealthy if we dwell on these unpredictable happenings. We must live with the realities that occur and that we cannot alter. We will never forget the disaster of 3407 but we will always with sadness yet joy remember the angelic voice and “Menschlichkeit” (decency) of cantor Susan Wehle and her forty-nine flight companions.
Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the co-author, with Dr. Gerhard Falk, of Deviant Nurses & Improper Patient Care (2006).