The Israel Lag B'Omer Experience

Tags: Lag B'Omer, Holidays, History

By Batya Kirshenbaum Osterbach

Walk around the neighborhood
The night is bright tonight
The fields are full of bonfires
Leaping to the heights

After weeks of wood collecting
With wagons piled high
And bands of kids in building sites
To scavenge wood supplies

Tonight is Lag Ba-Omer
The moon is bright above
We sit around our medurot
With all the friends we love.

Now we're free and so together
And I think of times gone by
When hunted by the enemy
Our children dared not cry

     The years of separation
     In countries far and wide
     The Torah learned in hiding
     The flame that never died

Now burning bright throughout our Land
For everyone to see
The medurot all dance and glow
And fill our hearts with glee

Our kids delight in singing
On this effervescent night
As they keep potatoes roasting
Till the dawning of the light

From Meron to every neighborhood
There's something that we share
Tonight we're all united
In the mellow smoke filled air

And with ringing song and laughter
'Neath our vast Israeli sky
We celebrate your triumph
Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai

From the April 2012 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

The most famous Lag B'Omer celebration is held at the village of Meron, near the northern city of Safed

Lag B'Omer Ascent to Mount Meron 1921

People come from all over the country to make their way up the mountain where Shimon Bar Yochai, the author of the mystical Jewish text The Zohar, is said to be buried.

Crowds of 500,000 gather at his tomb for this very happy celebration, roasting marshmallows and potatoes, dancing around the fires that lift their spirits, and filling the air with song.

Rabbi Shimon knew the importance of good human relationships.

Said he,

“Man should rather jump into a fiery furnace than offend another in public.”

“To deceive anyone by words is worse than cheating him out of money.”

“He who lets arrogance get the better of him is like the heathen worshipping idols.”

In the Ethics of Our Fathers, we find his saying,

“There are three crowns: the crown of the Torah, the crown of priesthood, and the crown of royalty; but the crown of a good name excels above them all.”

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Tags: Lag B'Omer, Holidays, History