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Why do people care how he died?

We all learned about the death of our friend Ronen Levi Yitzchak Segal last week, what I can’t understand is why I keep getting emails and facebook messages asking me how he died?

Would it really help you to learn how he died, if the family didn’t mention how he died, its pretty obvious that they aren’t proud of it and it probably wasn’t an accident – stop asking me – I may or may not know, either way I I don’t think its right to tell you.

{ 57 comments… add one }
  • A23 May 11, 2009, 6:03 PM

    I’m pretty sure that writing this post has undermined what is, ostensibly, the purpose of the post.

  • s(b.) May 11, 2009, 6:05 PM

    I’m sorry you feel badgered, but your information is in poor taste, even if it’s true. Just tell them if his family wanted to make that information public, they would. You have no obligation to betray a family in mourning’s trust, or to not betray it, but but publish your version of their feelings about it or what it may or may not have been. For those who believe, hkbh had other plans for him. for those who don’t, go watch his video for someone mourning the loss of a parent and hear his own words on when people die.

  • Homey May 11, 2009, 6:19 PM

    Why? Very simple. Morbid curiosity, that’s all.

    • rebecca August 30, 2011, 6:41 PM

      Maybe because he moved so many people that they felt like they lost a part of their own family and would want to know how their brother, sister, uncle, etc died. I doubt or hope may people who saw his videos would want to know what happened to him out of sick curiosity but rather I hope and feel they want to know out of love. He was a very special man and I’m sorry for yours and his families loss.

  • Anonymous May 11, 2009, 6:21 PM

    Now you are just using him to get attention for yourself

    • sSivan October 21, 2013, 5:58 PM

      That was mean.

  • S.R. May 11, 2009, 7:25 PM

    The way you write it makes it seem like something sinister happened. If that is true, it is not nice to post it, and it will only pique people’s curiosity. If that is NOT true, it also shouldn’t be posted. Either way, the line “its pretty obvious that they arenít proud of it and it probably wasnít an accident” should probably not be in this post. What kind of blog commenter does this post make me?

  • Anonymous May 11, 2009, 7:39 PM

    I agree with A23. This post is insensitive to the grieving family and should be taken down.

    On a lighter note, I’m glad you edited the grammar in your site’s subtitle.

  • Mark May 11, 2009, 7:54 PM

    On a lighter note, Iím glad you edited the grammar in your siteís subtitle.

    Doesn’t ain’t have an apostrophe?

    I agree that it is insensitive, especially since we already know that they likely read it. However, lots of stuff on this blog is insensitive to various folks. Is this any different? Maybe.

    Why do people care how he died?

    I don’t know about “people”, I know about me. I am a generally curious person, especially about things like mysterious deaths. But by the way you’ve discussed it, I can pretty much gather that it was suicide. It’s very sad that someone so “good” can be driven to suicide, either by something external or some demon internally. It’s sad that the world is losing such a good person due to reasons unknown, and probably never to be known other than by Hashem.

    • sSivan October 21, 2013, 6:04 PM

      I agree with you. I too felt it was suicide.

  • nameless, faceless May 11, 2009, 8:02 PM

    Hesh: I totally get why you wrote this. I’ve been getting the same questioning emails and it’s definitely an odd position to be in — on one hand, you don’t want to even acknowledge it just because of the principle of the thing, which is basically that that information (with respect to ANY passing for ANY reason, cancer, car accident, vengeful zoo animals, blah blah) is for the family and is therefore private. On the other hand, you kinda want to use a publicish forum to give your blanket “hey, stop asking because it’s totally inappropriate and I’m not taking any part in this…”

    And then there is the secret third hand where you really, really want to write a blog post about it because it’s something that you’re thinking about — not in an invasive way, but just in the natural, predictable way that everyone experiences after an unexpected passing.

    And I haven’t even touched on the ridiculous lashon hara of it all, that strangers would think it fine to ask other strangers about what happened, somehow implying that we know what happened. Some fucked up cross between sickening self-importance on our part and the perceived ultra-willingness to wag our tongues on the part of the askers….

    (Can you tell this Ronen thing has been bothering me? ūüôā )

  • Anonymous May 11, 2009, 8:05 PM

    You are using his death for attention

  • Michal bas Avraham May 11, 2009, 8:08 PM

    I was curious when I read the post. However, I didn’t know him or his Youtube work. So, I had basically forgotten about it. However, this post reminded me and especially some of the other things you say in the post, make me think the worst.

    Anyway, my opinion (as this is an open forum where we are free to be opinionated and interject our opinions) is that posting this again is only going to exacerbate the problem.

  • Frum Satire May 11, 2009, 8:54 PM

    Anonymous – I don’t need attention – if I did I could think of something far better.

    I wrote this so people will understand why I am not responding to the literally hundreds of emails and facebook messages I have received.

  • I Know May 11, 2009, 10:50 PM

    I know how he died. His soul left his body, to be returned to him at the End of Days.


  • yeshiva dude May 11, 2009, 11:54 PM

    There are more sadists out there than you think.

  • Michal bas Avraham May 12, 2009, 12:03 AM

    I just looked at this YouTube stuff… is there really only 8 videos? That’s it? Why are there log ins to his You Tube and Facebook accounts since he passed? Is someone touching his stuff? That would be sooooooo not cool.

  • s(b.) May 12, 2009, 8:39 AM

    he still has almost 250 videos up. hopefully they will stay up.

  • the widder May 12, 2009, 9:12 AM

    I would like to suggest that people’s interest in the cause of death goes beyond morbid curiosity. Death, particularly unexplained death of a young person, scares people. If people are able to attrtibute death to something controllable or preventable, they feel safe. For example, if someone who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt dies in a car accident people can say “Well, he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. I always wear my seatbelt, so it won’t happen to me.” When my husband was diagnosed with lung cancer the first thing people wanted to know was “Did he smoke?” When I told them “No, he never lit a cigarette,” I could see the disappointment and insecurity. People like to feel safe and they like to think that if they avoid risky behaviors no harm will befall them.

  • Anonymous May 12, 2009, 11:36 AM

    He was depressed and it was Suicide

  • Modox May 12, 2009, 11:54 AM

    It has nothing to do with “morbid curiosity” or “sadism” as a couple of the replies have stated.
    It’s just a tragic thing and it’s a natural inclination to know what happened.
    If that’s not clear enough, then explain as to why the Torah has to repeat the passing of Nadav and Avihu, two righteous individuals within klal Yisrael. AND, if that’s not enough, then explain why the Rabbis spend so much time debating the cause of death. [ie: They weren’t married. They made halachic decisions. The drank wine. They didn’t have kids. etc…]
    I hope I’m making myself clear.
    It has nothing to do with Morbid curiosity or sadism. It’s just that there’s a lesson to be learned in every aspect of life and something as tragic as this surely has a message.

  • Ann May 12, 2009, 12:57 PM


  • frum single female May 12, 2009, 7:36 PM

    its just sad to hear that someone died so young. this is why people are so curious. unfortunately this post makes me think it was of aids or suicide when before i just thought it was cancer.

  • Michal bas Avraham May 13, 2009, 12:12 AM

    I think you might also want to realize that when you tell people someone died, people are going to ask you how. After all, you relayed the information that he passed on.

  • Another Guy May 13, 2009, 2:40 PM

    My understanding is that it was not suicide.

  • cma May 16, 2009, 6:23 PM

    he was a leader
    controversial at that
    his life, and now his early death, is very indicative to me of the truth of his words and his choices, that he propogated so generously in his videos.

  • somebody May 16, 2009, 8:36 PM


  • s(b.) May 16, 2009, 8:59 PM

    Why aren’t you thinking of respecting his family’s sadness and respecting their apparent desire for privacy, instead? If they wanted to make it a topic for public discussion, they could. If it were your business, surely you would already have gotten a phone call about it. Just because you learn about someone’s death on an internet site doesn’t mean you have the right to know anything that person’s family hasn’t made public. It is out of line to ask Heshy to share confidential information he may or may not have.

    What if it were your relative that died, and your family wanted privacy about how that person died, and people were unwilling to respect that? Would that help your mourning process along?

    Everybody dies. Perhaps not respecting the privacy of mourners and those missing a dead person with hasten your own departure (chas v’shalom, but you never know).

  • Michal bas Avraham May 17, 2009, 12:13 AM

    I agree that it’s none of anybody’s business. However, I really think Heshy shouldn’t have posted THAT he died if he was unwilling to say how.

  • rickismom May 18, 2009, 2:37 AM

    The line “its pretty obvious that they arenít proud of it and it probably wasnít an accident ” is really pretty inexcusable.

    I suspect people ask, because they want to know if they are “safe”. (ie, if he smoked and got cancer, and I don’t smoke, I am safe”, etc.) [When I gave birth to a child with Down syn., EVERYONE was asking how old I was, aparently to reassure themselves that since they are youmnger, it wouldn’t happen to them….]

    Also I think that it bears mentioning that mourners get SICK AND TIRED of answering the “How/why did he die?” guestion. When you go to shiva visits, DON’T ask. (Besides, some other idiot there will surely ask when you are there, so you will hear anyway….)

  • why it matters May 27, 2009, 6:33 PM

    this dishonest victorian politeness is what drives people to tragic means…not wanting to talk about real life in its totality is what stops progress-covering up problems does not help people face their issues…it is like accepting injustice in secret but get mad at people who discuss an injustice openly…suppression helps no one…honesty is what Ronen was about and more people should have been honest and empathetic with him and now that he is gone instead we get more dishonesty and denial…society grinds down the best human beings and creates numbness and servility…I blame stupid social norms an unjust drug war and those who wish to hide from real human suffering

  • Jacob October 15, 2009, 11:51 PM

    I really dont understand the porpose of this posting from the “”True Friend”” he had .. Why would you say– its pretty obvious that they arenít proud of it and it probably wasnít an accident. If you really don’t want to expose that then don’t mention it. Please take it off and stop advertising to people of something you are not sure of yourself.. He was a Zadik and always shared his honest feelings with everyone, he wasn’t ashamed of who he was, unlike some other people… No matter how bad it sounded , he spoke the truth and i am sure Hashem has alot of respect for him. I am asking all the people who like to gossip and say things to fit in or just to make themselves feel better, Please stay away from ‘Lashon Hara’ and Pray for Ronnan.

  • Chaver November 15, 2009, 11:30 AM

    Where is your sense of honour Heshey? The family made a specific request and you come on here (twice) with teasers and innuendo. Be ashamed. Given their request, is’nt it better to simply let his videos speak for themselves and people can draw whatever lessons they can. Also, for the sake of minimising any future hurt to Ronen’s family I suggest that you remove both of your blog entries mentioning his passing.

    …plus, the YT nazi’s get off on this sort of thing.

    • Heshy Fried November 15, 2009, 2:01 PM

      Thats funny because after these two posts I got emails from family members thanking me

  • J April 7, 2010, 8:17 PM

    You are a complete ass and Ronen would be ashmed to say he knew you. You know nothing about Ronen and can not say he was a friend of yours. I feel bad for you because you are a very sad individual. Not to mention that you are not funny at all and will probably amount to nothing… Keep you opinions to yourself a**hole!!

  • Anonymous May 9, 2010, 1:47 PM

    Hey-I just came across him on youtube, as a muslim was really enlighted and then went on to see his other videos. Suddenly, scrolling down the comments I was upset to hear he’d passed away. Firstly, sorry for his family and hoped he was at peace, then wondered what had happened as he was so young.
    It wasn’t meant to be morbid or hurtful and most people who ask these questions wouldn’t think of asking his family, as not to cause further pain.

  • No Name September 16, 2010, 4:33 PM

    This is why we want to know and I’ve said this on other blog posts about Ronen.
    Some of us were aware that he was not doing well, that he was slipping into something bad, and some of us tried to help and appealed to members of his community to help him, for fear that something bad would happen.
    Clearly, something bad happened. Those of us who tried to help are feeling like an opportunity was missed and now . . .he is gone.
    That is why we want to know.

  • Anonymous November 12, 2010, 3:40 AM

    RIP Ronen.

  • Pastor Scott November 13, 2010, 6:30 PM

    ???? ?? ??????, ??????? ?? ?????
    Ronen’s videos are inspiring, comforting and full of love. I just learned today of his passing. I am saddened at the fact that I will never be able to meet him in person in this life. He lives on with G-d in eternity, and with us in his videos and in our hearts. I look forward to meeting Ronen on the other side.
    ???? ???? ????? ??????? ???? ??????

    May the Living God of Israel, Adonai Elohim,
    Creator of the Heavens and the Earth,
    RICHLY BLESS you today and everyday!
    Sh’ma Yis’ra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad.

    Pastor Scott, a humble servant

  • Boaz Fraizer January 18, 2011, 10:48 AM

    I am sorry, I just asked this same question on the memorial FB page.

    I don’t know why I want to know, I am worried I guess, such a tzaddiq taken so soon, I mean it makes you think all sorts of bad things…

    But peace be upon the fact that the family does not want to share this information.

    I respect that 100% we do not have any right to know such intimate details. But I do think that people like my self ask, out of concern and care…

    That’s all I have to say…

    RIP Ronnen!

  • Patrick January 23, 2011, 1:40 AM

    This is insane. If I died and people asked my family they would CERTAINLY tell them what happened? Why all this retarded privacy? We deserve to know.

  • steve January 30, 2011, 9:07 PM

    because we deserve the truth….thats why.

  • steve January 30, 2011, 9:11 PM

    maybe he’s alive….and this is all just a sick joke???
    if his name was in the obituary…I would not question his death…
    nope not one bit….I would not want to know how he died…
    instead i would remember him as I knew him…and I think that
    is more important than DETAILS of his passing.
    but still….knowing how he died…will give closure to some…
    not to me.
    I just want him to come back somehow.

  • OfftheDwannaB January 30, 2011, 9:14 PM

    I forgot who said “God’s wounded often make his best soldiers”.
    This was definitely true of Ronen. He was a wonderful person, trying to help others and change the world for the better. Baruch dayan emes.

  • Wondering July 4, 2011, 10:32 AM

    Would Ronen himself have wanted the cause of his death to be made public? Seems to me that’s a relevant question I don’t believe anyone has yet addressed.

    Perhaps Ronen’s friends and admirers who knew him well, knew his stands on various issues, knew at least part of what was in his heart, could talk about that. If he was the kind of person who would want the circumstances of his death to be known, perhaps in the hope that others in similar circumstances might be helped, shouldn’t his wishes be honored? The family members he left behind are not the only people whose feelings should be considered.

    • lessermystery September 6, 2011, 3:01 PM

      I disagree. His family’s feelings are priority. Your life goes on. A bit part of life for them has stopped forever. You will understand this if you should happen to lose a child before your time.

  • New Convert September 20, 2011, 8:19 PM

    I just found Ronen’s You Tube site and have been watching his videos. I’m very sad to hear about his death. However, all of these posts as to why he died are ridiculous. I think people are letting his death overshadow his life. Look at what he did! I am a new in my conversion process and I have learned so much from him. Two years after his death! There is some grace here. HaShem knew how long his life would be, and it seems like HaShem gave him the motivation and opportunity to let his life reach more people for a longer period of time than his life would allow.

    I under stand wanting to know how he died. But let us use what we have now and learn from how he lived.

  • Eli November 4, 2011, 8:14 PM

    I believe he went up into the sky. Hopefully I will meet him one day. One

  • pico November 23, 2011, 8:34 AM

    You’re a schmuck. Is that a hebrew word?

  • anonymoud ronen fan February 13, 2012, 1:01 AM

    Here’s why I want to know why he died: because I care.

    It pains me to imagine that he was suffering or tortured or depressed or whatever else it might have been. I don’t want that to be the case, I hope it wasn’t, but I don’t know. I am concerned for him even though he is no longer with is. Is that odd? Maybe. But aren’t we all concerned for people we care about? Part of me wants some kind of relief that it was some freak accident or whatever and not some kind of inner turmoil that caused this kind person to suffer. Why knowing that would help or benefit me, I don’t know. I just care about it. It can’t be explained. And if it was something where he was suffering, I would be more saddened by that. But its almost some kind of hope that the better alternative could have been the case.

    • MeinDenver March 4, 2012, 6:14 PM

      I agree. People naturally are upset and shocked and say, “What happened?”

      Somewhere a year or two ago I read it was a horrible accident, such as a car accident.

      RIP to him, especially at such a young age.

  • Prince of Persia May 15, 2012, 10:10 PM

    Ronen certainly has a loyal following that transcended just one faith. Clearly, Christians, including a Muslim commentator on here and a Messianic commentator whom I recognized on the accompanying post, as well as Noahides and Converts, besides Jews, were drawn to him; his vlogs are still accumulating thousands of hits. It’s hard not to like a Righteous guy who resembles Jake Gyllenhaal. Definitively one of the first Digital Sages of this curious generation.

  • Truth Speaker April 14, 2013, 10:28 AM

    First of all… Let’s be honest: he would have about 2 followers instead of a thousand, if he looked like Ed Asner, instead of Jake Gyllinhall. I’ve watched every one of his videos, many more than once. There are literally hundreds of of “Ronens” on the internet, of all faiths. All with good “neshumahs” as you say. But you all were attracted to his youth and looks, and fantasized about getting into his pants, (men and women). You know I’m right. Also, He could have only died of 2 things: either AIDS or suicide. Otherwise his cause of death would not be so hush hush.

    • Anonymous October 21, 2013, 6:15 PM

      Oh my. You are very direct. You spoke some things that crossed my mind – suicide or aids.. He does have a video stating gays are our brothers too. It’s sad.

  • SFGG February 20, 2014, 10:11 PM


  • David September 23, 2018, 5:27 PM

    RIP Ronen my friend. Although I never personally knew you. I discovered your YouTube vids and they became an inspiration me in my troubled journey to find peace in the teachings of the Almighty. I learned of your passing when searching for information to contact you. But in your vids… there is details to find others that can give me answers for my concerns. Thanks and RIP my friend.

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