Sunday, April 28, 2013

Jews Celebrate Lag B'Omer This Week.

Jews Celebrate Lag B'Omer This Week 

How was it commemorated 90 years ago?

Today Jews around the world are celebrating Lag B'Omer
the end of a month-long mourning period when traditional Jews 
refrain from weddings or joyous gatherings.  The mourning remembers 
the thousands of students of Rabbi Akiva, a reknowned spiritual 
leader at the time of the Talmud.  They died in a great plague 
that ended on Lag B'Omer. 

Dancing at the Meron tomb (Central Zionist Archives, 
Harvard Library,  1925) 

Meron and tomb of Shimon BarYochai
 (circa 1930) 


The tomb on the hill (enlarged)

In Israel, Lag B'Omer is celebrated with bonfires, 
hikes along nature trails, and gatherings at the 
tombs of of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in the Galilee 
town of Meron and of Shimon the Just (Hatzaddik
in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem. 

Bar Yochai, a student of Rabbi Akiva's, was known 
for his opposition to the Roman rule in the Land of Israel.  
He and his son were forced to flee to the Galilee where
they hid in a cave for 12 years.  Lag B'Omer is the 
day of his death, but it is actually celebrated in recognition 
of the Torah teachings he gave over to his students.

Hundreds of thousands of celebrants are expected to 
visit Shimon Bar Yochai's tomb in Meron by Wednesday night.

Shimon Hatzaddik was a High Priest of the second Temple 
in Jerusalem for 40 years.  

Jewish women praying at the Shimon
Hatzaddik tomb (Central Zionist
Archives, Harvard Library, c. 1930)

According to Jewish tradition, Shimon clothed 
himself in his High Priest's vestments to receive 
Alexander the Great as he marched toward Jerusalem.  
Alexander stepped from his chariot and bowed to Shimon, 
who, he said, had appeared to him in a dream 
predicting his victories. 

Jews gathered at Shimon Hatzaddik's tomb in Sheikh Jarrah,
Jerusalem (Central Zionist Archives, Harvard Library,
c. 1930)

Children's Lag B'Omer procession
near Shimon Hatzaddik's tomb (1918)

Shimon Hatzaddik's tomb today

Many traditional Jews who cannot travel to Meron 
in the Galilee celebrate Lag B'Omer at Shimon Hatzaddik's 
tomb located in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in northern Jerusalem. 
Jewish homes around the tomb had to be evacuated 
in the 1948 fighting.  In recent years Jewish families
 have returned to the neighborhood. 

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Thanks for sharing. Blessings on your head from the Lord Jesus, Yeshua HaMashiach.

Steve Martin
Love For His People
Charlotte, NC USA