Lag B’Omer

The story of Lag B’Omer, as related in the Talmud, is well-known.

Our Sages tell us that the disciples of Rabbi Akiva were stricken by a
plague because they were not respectful toward one another.

But on the thirty-third day of the Sefira – Lag B’Omer – the plague
stopped.

Lag B’Omer is especially known for two historic events:
On Lag B’Omer, the deadly plague which had attacked the students of Rabbi
Akiva ceased.
Years later, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai passed away on Lag
B’Omer.

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai was one of the foremost Talmudic sages. He also
wrote the Zohar, the primary text of Kabala.

It is customary to celebrate Lag B’Omer with outdoor activities.
Children and students who would normally be indoors studying go out into
parks and fields to play and enjoy nature. The intent of this custom is
to bring Torah study "into the fields," to unify all aspects of Torah
and Jewish observance with the world around us.

Another custom on Lag B’Omer is to light bonfires in the evening. In
Israel, children collect firewood for weeks to assure a big, beautiful
(supervised) bonfire!

This custom originates in the idea that on the day that Rabbi Shimon
passed away, a great light filled the world because of all of the
secrets of Torah wisdom that Rabbi Shimon revealed to his students.
These secrets, now revealed, were recorded in the Zohar.

The sun did not set until Rabbi Shimon had revealed all that he was
allowed to. As soon as he was done, the sun set and he passed on.

The Zohar also states: "With this book we will come out of the exile
with mercy." may the end of exile and the beginning of the Redemption
take place immediately NOW!
 

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