The Danger of ‘Purim’ Fireworks and Explosives

20 would like to remind all readers of the dangers of dangerous fireworks and explosives often purchased by children and teens before Purim. 

To accentuate just how dangerous they can be, note that last year, a frum boy lost five fingers after playing with a Purim firecracker. The 14-year-old boy was injured after a Purim firecracker he was holding exploded, tearing five fingers off his hand and launching shrapnel into his face.

A Magen Dovid Adom team evacuated the Israeli boy to the Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva, where the boy admitted to the medical crew that the firecracker went off during an attempt to increase its force.


A photo of a real firecracker injury. Venishmartem me'od lenafshoseichem.
A photo of a real firecracker injury. Venishmartem me'od lenafshoseichem.


Following that incident, MDA Director-General Eli Bin called upon parents to prevent their children from purchasing dangerous explosives that could cause severe handicaps such as that day’s incident, “or even worse.”

In other Purim warnings, parents should be aware of dangers inherent in graggers. Two years ago, a serrated plastic wheel from a gragger that was handed out to children in a nursery school seriously endangered a three-year-old girl, Ayala Levy, who was saved by a gastroscopy under general anesthesia at Kaplan Medical Center in Rechovot, Israel.

Shmaya, the girl’s father, said that soon after the graggers were handed out, Ayala began to chew it and the small part dislodged itself into her mouth. The nursery school teacher quickly called for Magen David Adom medics, who gave her first aid and rushed her to the hospital.

Dr. Michal Corey, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Kaplan, said Ayala arrived vomiting and complaining of pain in her neck and throat. She underwent imaging, and the piece of plastic was found stuck in her esophagus and preventing the entrance of food. Under general anesthesia in the operating room, the child underwent a gastroscopy, in which an optic fiber is introduced into the body to view inside. Corey managed to pull the two-centimeter plastic disk out without having to perform a major operation. An hour later, the child was able to speak, walk, eat and run.

Her father warned all parents to pay attention to all small objects within their children’s reach, especially around Purim. They can enter not only the esophagus, but also the trachea and choke the child. Corey added that only food should be allowed to enter small children’s mouths, and even food should be sliced or chopped up into small, safe bits.

Child safety experts note that toys that have parts as small as a penny should not be within the reach of children under age four.

{Yossi Schneider and Yair Alpert for Global Newscenter}


  1. I absolutely do not want to take away the importance of this issue.
    However, there seriously should be a warning for this picture. I know we have this discussion every year but still.
    Write “Warning this story contains graphic gory images”

  2. I would rather you posted a picture of the er purim night lined with drunk people laying on gurnees. Maybe that would help too.

  3. A Goisser Yasher Koach to Yossi Schneider, Yair Alpert, and Matzav for writing up and posting this informative warning article, AND for placing here the severely harrowing photograph of the slashed up hand resting in a pool of blood on a medical tray.

    Yes, this IS an extremely gory picture; (as a number of the comments here pointed out)


  4. There seems to be a concerted effort to make sure that no one has any fun, not only on Purim but year round. The anti fun crowd trots out these terrible anecdotes about fireworks, alcohol, etc. every year. People, anecdotes are not evidence. Millions, that’s right, millions of Americans enjoy alcohol safely every day, and millions, yes, millions of Americans use fireworks safely and legally. If the fun haters were sincere, there effort would be directed at education about the safe use of recreational activities, not at attempting to ban them.

  5. my cousin lost a toe – yes a toe from explosives

    so all the people saying to take way the picture are just being small minded and silly. this is real sakana

  6. I agree that we’re dealing with a Sakana. However, a description of people losing fingers would be more than enough to encourage people to stay away from explosives. The picture subjects everyone to unnecessary trauma, which is why I looked away as soon as I realized what it was.

    As a rule, it’s a bad idea to look at everything that’s available on the Internet, even when it’s permissible. For example, numerous teens suffered from PTSD after watching videos of people jumping from the Twin Towers.

  7. Probably the very best and most stinging revelation and warning about the massive destructiveness of firecrackers that I ever heard was the following.

    When I was in elementary school in the third and fourth grades, each day after the lunch recess, for about a half an hour, the teacher would read to us one of the common children’s books. In this way, we went through a number of books, including a couple of the classic novels.

    One of the books — I do not remember its name — that my third grade teacher read to us presented the following fictional story. Hearing the tragic narrative then greatly hurt me inside, and up through this day fourty-eight years latter, just thinking about it gives me excruciating pain.

  8. (continuation of previous comment)

    The story is like this. On a summer day, a group of young boys are walking around their city. As they pass through an empty lot, they see lying on the ground — a firecracker! Evidently, it was left over from the celebrations on the Fourth of July a few days ago and had been dropped here and forgotten about.

    Understandably, the boys are all very thrilled at finding and being able to pick up and hold a real fire cracker. Finally, one of the boys excitedly exclaims: “LET’S LIGHT IT!” and (almost) all of the others enthusiastically agree. One boy though, is a little frightened of doing this and thus tries to ask his friends not to do it. He though, is soundly outvoted. The cracker is thus lit and tossed backwards in the open lot. Immediately, the boys quickly run forwards; of course though, it is the boy who was scared of the whole business who cannot run quite as fast as the others. When the cracker soon goes off, he is still a little bit within the zone of the explosion, and the heavy blast severely knocks him down.

    Boruch HaShem, the people who are nearby (whether the kids or others who are passing by) see what happens and immediately call emergency services, and the boy is quickly taken to the ER.

    In the make believe story, the boy’s parents are, unfortunately, divorced. (Possibly, the terrible emotional trauma that a child experinces upon seeing his parents fight and divorce, could have been a cause of this boy not being able to run as fast as others.) Therefore, his mother has to work full time to make the Parnossa. Understandably, it is quite irritating for her to be interrupted at her crucially needed job and be informed that her son just had a terrible accident, and she thus has to drop everything and run over to the hospital.

    [Furthermore, there is the unmentioned but well realized issue that having limited finances, how will she be able to pay for the coming horrendous medical costs? (I heard this story in 1963, and it had obviously been written some time before that, so) remember, this was well before the days when “everything” was “covered by insurance.”]

    Boruch HaShem, the full teams of doctors, specialists, and other hospital staff give their very best to do for the boy all the necessary extremely extensive surgery work and other medical care to try to get him all put back together again.

    Boruch HaShem, finally, finally, finally, the great day has come. It is now time when the wounds should be pretty much healed up, and thus most of the bandages can now be taken off! The boy too has certainly been greatly looking forward to this moment. For until now, he has been heavily covered with several layers of thick banadges, almost like a mummy. So he will be really happy when all of that can come off, and he will be, somewhat, back into the real world!

  9. (continuation of previous comment)

    [Countless major literary narrative works have been made into stage plays and motion pictures. For presenting a narrative with having actual live people acting out the story, conveys the events and feelings of the story much more fully. However, with this next scene, I do not think that even the best theatrical work could convey the message any better than its description printed on paper. The writer of the book certainly did an extremely superb job in the narration; B’Ezras HaShem, I will try to repeat it. (As I noted above, I am severely pained by it — and, it is just a made up story! I have not even typed the words yet, and I am already crying!)]

    The boy’s mother, the doctors, and the nurses are assembled in the boy’s hospital room. The appropriate technician approaches the boy’s bed, leans over him, and, with the particular instrument, starts to cut one of the bandages. When the cut is made, he pulls on the bandage; there is a bit of a tearing sound, but soon, the bandage is off. Then, he makes a cut in the next bandage and peals that one off. Then, he goes to the next one, and peals that one off. Then the next one, and the next one, and the next one, and on and on.

    He comes to the bandages over the face; he comes to the bandages over the eyes. Again, he cuts the bandage, pulls on it, and completely peals it off. Then, he cuts the bandage below that one, pulls on it, and peals it off. Then, he goes to the bandage below that one, and peals it off. Then, the next one below that, and the next one, and the next one.

    Throughout all of this, the boy is patiently lying there in the bed, gladly welcoming the tearing and pealing sounds that go on and on for a long time. At one point though, the sounds stop, and no more does he feel the technician’s hand handling and yanking on the bandages. So the boy says to the technician: “You can continue; please continue.” The technician though, does not continue. So, again, the boy tells him: “Continue on; please continue.” The technician though, does not continue. So, again, the boy empathetically tells him: “Please continue! Please, take off more bandages!” The technician though, does not continue. Again, the boy frantically begs: “Please, take off more bandages!
    You have not taken off all the bandages!!”


    That’s right.

    There ARE no more bandages!

    The nurses quickly grab to hold and support — and console — the mother as she begins to swoon — she is too horrified to scream or cry — as her mind begins to comprehend the implications of what has happened.

    The boy though, continues on; even more frantically, he exclaims:

    “Please, take off more bandages!”

    “You have not taken off all the bandages!”

    “It is still all black here!”

    “Please, take off more bandages!”

    “You have not taken off . . . “

  10. (continuation of previous comment)

    As soon as he is able to start walking again, the boy is given and instructed how to use a seeing eye dog and a walking stick.

    Another severely painful aspect of the story is that it is an episode of total injustice. The wicked fiend and his little gang who lit and threw the firecracker are not given any discipline whatsoever; they are not even given any oral rebuke. On the contrary, this what happens. One day, as the boy is walking down the street (with his dog and stick), who does he meet up with? You guessed it: His good “friend,” the firecracker guy!

    The dog somehow senses that this other boy in front of them is the one who caused all of this trouble; the dog thus starts fiercely growling and barking at him. Afterwards, the (crippled) boy is sharply reprimanded. Yes, THE (CRIPPLED) BOY is (the one who is) sharply reprimanded! He is sharply reprimanded and sternly warned that if he wants to continue to have the “privilege” of having a (seeing eye) dog, he will have to take full responsibility to completely make sure that his dog never harasses anyone!

  11. (continuation of previous comment)

    As I noted at the outset of my narration, the above story is fiction. However, it is a made up story of THE TYPE OF EVENTS, which, very unfortunately, do actually happen quite often. For, as I grew up, I painfully heard that there are very many people who have had, Lo Alaynu – it should never happen to us, whole limbs blown off or have even been outright killed by fireworks.

    For some statistics, I copied the following statements from the web page at

    “Approximately 9300 people nationwide are seriously injured by fireworks every year.”

    “About 40% of all fireworks related injuries are due to illegal fireworks that have been banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”

    About 45% of injuries from fireworks are incurred by kids under 14 years of age.

    “Every year about 400 Americans lose sight in one or both eyes due to fireworks.”

    “Fireworks contribute to more than 20,000 fires every year.”

    “Approximately 4 people will die this year in the U.S from fireworks.”

    “Children between the ages of 5 and 9 have the highest rate of firework related injuries.”