Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Why are we so happy on Rabbi Shimon's Yahrzeit ?


I heard a nice explanation from a Sephardi Rabbi on the question "Why are we so happy and celebrating Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai's Yahrzeit on Lag Ba'Omer ? Shouldn't we rather commemorate it by sitting down, having a meal and talking Torah in order to lift up his Neshama (soul) ? Why are the Jews so extremely joyful and dancing around a bonfire next to the Rabbi's grave in Meron ?"

The Sephardi Rabbi explained that we are expressing our joy because everything connected to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai has to do with G - dly miracles. His escape from the Roman's together with his son Elazar. Due to their flight, they both hid in a cave for 12 years. Talmud Shabbat 33 teaches how Rabbi Shimon and Rabbi Elazar dug themselves into the sand in the cave until only their heads stuck out. A miracle occured and G - d created a carob tree and a spring of water for them in order to provide nourishment. The whole day they learnt Torah and finally, after 12 years, Ceasar (the Roman procurator) died and Rabbi Shimon was free.

Father and son left the cave and outside they saw some farmers working. Rabbi Shimon and his son were on such a high spiritual level after discussing the secrets of the Torah for the past twelve years with the result that Rabbi Shimon was unable to refer to the physical world anymore. He couldn't accept that there were commoners earning their living through work and not with Torah study only.

G - d punished both of them for destroying His world. The Rabbis had to go back to the cave and they there for another year in order to find their way back to reality.

Here we see that G - d miraculously provided them with food and drinks. The other miracle was that Rabbi Shimon escaped the vicious Romans and died a natural death.

The miracles are the reason why we celebrate his Yahrzeit !

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