No parent should have to bury a child. Let alone seven.
That was the incomprehensible reality faced by a Brooklyn father, who lost seven of his eight children over the weekend when a hot plate left on for the Sabbath malfunctioned, turning their Midwood home into a fiery death trap.
Still, Gabriel Sassoon somehow managed the strength to stand inside and eulogize his lost sons and daughters Sunday — and then put their caskets on an El-Al jet bound for Israel, where they will be buried Monday in Jerusalem.
“My children were wonderful, they were the best,” he said to sobs inside the Shomrei Hadas Chapels in Borough Park, and in the surrounding streets, where hundreds listened to the service over loud speakers.
He called out their names — “too many names.”
The children ranged in age from 5 through 16 — boys Yaakob, 5; Moshe, 8; Yeshua, 10 and David, and sisters Sara, 6; Rivkah, 11, and Eliane, 16.
“All had faces of angels,” he said. And then, using a Hebrew name for God, he told his community, “Hashem knows how much I love them."
Sassoon, a deeply religious man, according to neighbors, was away at a retreat when the fire erupted at just after midnight Saturday morning in the family’s Bedford Avenue home.
Adding to the anguish are reports there was only one smoke detector in the house — in the basement. Smoke inhalation is the official cause of death.
“I want to ask my children for forgiveness. I did my best and my wife did her best,” Sassoon said. “Please everybody love your children. It’s the only thing that counts.”
Sassoon’s wife, Gayle, and surviving daughter Siporah, 15, leapt from a second floor, and are in hospital in critical, their bodies badly burned.
“Give us the strength to continue,” Sassoon said.
Back on Bedford Ave., the black-scarred brick home’s windows and doors were boarded up by work crews and a cop stood guard.
Neighbors left flowers out front.
Mayor Bill de Blasio was visibly shaken when he inspected what was left the day before.
“Every room empty, and burned, and charred,” he said, at one point holding his head in grief.
“I can only imagine what the father is going through, and we all have to be there to support him. We have to pray for the mother and the daughter who’s still alive, and hope they make it through.”