How Shabbat Saved a Girl from the Triangle Factory Fire

Her father's parting words were: "Remember, more than Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews."

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Comments (9)

(8) Lyone, November 10, 2019 6:20 PM

Jewish Owners

I think it is also important to remember that the owners of the Triangle Shirt factory were Jewish. Despite this fact, they treated their (mostly female) employees like slaves: requiring them to work long hours each day, paying them poorly, and *locking* the doors of the factory when they were addition to requiring them to work on Shabbos.
If those factory doors had been unlocked, more workers could have survived. But if the owners themselves were shomer Shabbos the event would not have taken any of those women's lives at all.

(7) Anna, November 8, 2019 7:50 PM

I have mixed feelings about these stories; why didn't God want the others not to die in that horrible way ?

Does God have favourites ?

(6) Anonymous, November 8, 2019 7:33 PM

I don't think this is an accurate version of this story

Below is a somewhat shortened version of the story, as originally recounted by Rabbi Paysach Krohn in his book, Echoes of the Maggid.

In 1911, a few years after her parents and five younger siblings had immigrated to America, 19-year-old Ida went job hunting. It was difficult to find a job that would allow a worker to keep Shabbos. The five-day work week would come decades later. Now, many Jews were falling victim to the New World’s standards of forsaking Shabbos in order to put bread on one’s table. It was an agonizing challenge of the times. Ida’s parents had raised their children with the strong belief that the Torah was their guiding light, no matter what environment or country in which they lived. Ida was tempted to accept a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York, at which she could earn overtime pay to fill orders from the backlog created by a recent strike. Ida soundly declined the offer. The company required all workers to come in on Shabbos - without exception. Ida needed the money, but Shabbos to her was inviolate. The next week, on Shabbos afternoon (March 25, 1911), a disastrous fire raged throughout the three floors that the Triangle Shirtwaist Company owned in a ten-story loft building. A hundred forty six people died, mostly young women, due to narrow congested aisles and locked doors which trapped in the workers. This fire prompted the setting of strict industrial safety codes and remedial factory legislation throughout the United States. The Shabbos of the fire, in shuls throughout the world, the following verse was read in Parshas Vayakhel: “You shall not kindle fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.” (Shmos 35:3) Today, Ida’s descendants gratefully and proudly commemorate her commitment to Shabbos observance, which saved her life, and thus granted them life as well. (Echoes of the Maggid)

(5) Anne Elizabeth Donnelly, November 8, 2019 4:23 PM


My father always said remember keep holy the Lord's day.

(4) SHELLEY HERMAN, November 7, 2019 6:43 PM

My grandmother worked

My grandmother worke there and was saved because she was giving birth to my aunt that day.

(3) David, November 7, 2019 3:45 PM

Part of a questionable genre...

There are lots of stories that are more or less the same as this (a more recent example being the discredited tale of the fellow who got off one of the planes that was hijacked on 9/11 because he'd forgotten his tefillin). The real problem with these stories is not that they're often a bit fanciful; rather, it's that there are far too many real examples of Sabbath-observant Jews being massacred by peasants, Cossacks, crusaders, Nazis, etc. These "miracle" stories tend, inadvertently, to highlight the millions of Jews for whom there were no miracles.

A P Kinsberg, November 7, 2019 7:41 PM

Had similar thoughts but…

I was thinking similar as you but with an important addition. I too thought of those who were Shomer Shabbat and were murdered on Shabbat. At the same time, I must thank God for the good. As we get further away from events, we sometimes see those events clearer although that may not answer all questions. Both my parents came to the US in 1920 as children. They were orphans. Yet this saved them from the Holocaust and allowed them to have Jewish descendants. I must thank God with a full heart but that does not prevent me from yelling to God “Why the tragedies & suffering”?

(2) Anonymous, November 7, 2019 1:36 AM


Her Fathers parting words would save her life in the future. His words stayed in her mind. G-D knew this would happen. It doesn't say how much later the fire occurred but, through distance & time-"remember Shabbat" was life saving!! The Lord had a different plan for her. A great & true story! Thanks!

(1) Anonymous, November 6, 2019 12:13 PM

Beautiful story !

And a true one, at that!


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