Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Meron is going Business

Chassidut Satmar (Rebbe Zalman Leib) having its bonfire in front of the Beit Midrash in Yoel Street / Jerusalem.


When is Lag Ba'Omer (the 33rd day of the Omer) ?
A very good question because Israel's Chief Rabbinate and further Rabbis are considering to delay Lag Ba'Omer onto Sunday. This year, Lag Ba'Omer is supposed to start on Mozzaei Shabbat and the tradition is to light bonfires. However, as there may be a temptation of finishing the Shabbat too early (Chillul Shabbat) in order to get ready for the bonfire, different Rabbis may delay the holiday.

Nevertheless, hundreds of thousands of religious Jews are going up to Meron where the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is located. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is associated with the kabbalistic ZOHAR and was a Tanna in the Talmudic period. Rabbi Shimon passed away on Lag Ba'Omer.
Furthermore, the mourning period during the Omer is coming to an end on the 33rd day, as the plague during the time of Rabbi Akiva stopped. Our Sages say that there was a plague killing 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva because they spoke Lashon HaRah (slander) among each other. They died as a punishment because they should have been on a higher level than occupying themselves with arrogance and gossip.
However, there are different opinions by historians that the plague never took place and the students died because Rabbi Akiva told them to become soldiers and join Bar Kochba in his war against the Romans. I do very much agree with this opinion !

Meron will be packed and thousands are going to camp outside. Entire families and chassidic groups together with their Rebbes. Prices are going up and Meron is making money: 700 Dollar for a bed on this Shabbat ! Not in a hotel but in a storage room.

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