Friday, December 03, 2010

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A Haircut at Rashbi

No trip to the north of Israel is complete with a stop at Kever Rashbi, the holy burial place of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, zt”l, student of Rabbi Akiva, master of the mysteries of the Torah and author of the Holy Zohar.  Kever Rashbi has become a popular site in Israel to go for an Upshernish (haluka rishona) – the first haircut for a Jewish boy upon turning 3 years old. 

Our friend Reb Dovid of DAF Studios Israel (top quality photography for all types of events and simchas – 054 971 7859) shares some of pictures of such an event with us…

The entrance to compound surrounding the holy kever of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in Meron…

A quote from Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, that the name of Hashem will not be forgotten from our seed appears over the second archway…

The compound is many hundreds of years old (or older).  The large courtyard is quite nice and includes rooms on the left for some kitchen facilities, bathrooms, and a men’s mikveh as well as a large balcony overhead.  Though on Lag B’Omer when thousands of people squeeze in it no longer seems large.

The internal layout is actually a bit odd.  A series of small arched rooms with access to the kever on the right continue to a hallway that takes you to a much larger room (next picture) under the main dome with access to the kever from the left.  In this picture you have access to the kever (out of view on the right), then an area for regular davening with an aaron kodesh (pictured), then a room for learning and the hallway access (in the distance).

The kever access from the first room.  All types of Jews gather together at holy sites such as this, and it’s a wonderful thing to see every type of Jew standing and praying together as brothers.

If you continue down the hallway and turn around, you’re facing back towards the kever under the large dome.  The room is arranged to give the holy nashim (women) equal access via a different path, accessing the kever under the main dome area (women’s side not pictured, it’s beyond the back partitions).

Off to the right side of the building is a picnic area that many use for an Upshernish.  Here, at the holy kever of Rashbi, a proud zeidi (Jewish grandfather) sheps some yiddishe nachas by giving his grandson his first haircut.  (The long haired Jewish boy about to be shorn of his golden locks and left with Jewish peyos [religious sidelocks] isn’t so sure this is a good idea.  But in a few hours he’ll be running around with his newly presented yamulka and tzitzit [religious fringes] like an expert.)

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