by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths
How can we even begin to describe Lag B’Omer in Meron at Kever Rashbi – Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai? Words fail, but we’ll try.
Meron is a sleepy mountain village with a holy site, the burial place of the holy tanna, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. On an average day the village of a few thousand may get a couple of hundred visitors to the holy site up the narrow mountain roads.
On Lag B’Omer it becomes the site of the largest Jewish festival in the world. What started over 400 years ago as a small celebration by the mekubalim – the kabbalists of Tzfat (Safed) celebrating the author (or source material author) of the holy Zohar – the book of Jewish mysticism, what started then has turned into a festival where over 500,000 travel from all over Israel and all over the world to celebrate and daven.
The holiness of the day and the miracles attributed to the merit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai abound. For many the celebration is a way of life as a tent city springs up behind the kever as many come a full month in advance and live at the holy site.
As Lag B’Omer comes closer, the numbers swell and as it arrives tens of thousands arrive to stay in the village, in nearby tent cities, and in all nearby towns and villages. On the day itself buses travel from every city and town in Israel bringing those who wish to visit for the auspicious day. And not only by bus, plane loads of Jews from around the world arrive as well!
What brings them all? The joy of Torah through the secrets of the Torah. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi) represents the mystical path of the Torah, the deep essence, the theology, the actual connection between the soul of a Jew and our Father in Heaven.
And the secrets of that connection…they’re worth celebrating!