Light My Fire - Lag BaOmer

Lag BaOmer (May 26, 2016) marks the anniversary of the passing of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai - mystic and author of the Zohar, the seminal kabbalistic work that illuminates the divine light within every soul. The Omer itself is a 50-day period between the second day of Passover and the festival of Shavuot, when we celebrate the day the Jewish people received the Torah at Mount Sinai.

In recognition of Rabbi Shimon 'igniting the Fire of Torah,' Lag BaOmer is a day traditionally celebrated with bonfires (children also used to play with bows and arrows, in memory of the fact that a rainbow - which is the same Hebrew word as bow and a symbol of world destruction - was never seen during Rabbi Shimon's lifetime.) Hundreds of thousands also visit the mystic's grave in Meron, near Safed in Northern Israel, where many also celebrate by performing the traditional upsherin (first hair-cutting) ceremony for three-year-old boys. 

A fire has two components - the light and the vessel that holds it. They correspond to the soul and the body. And every Jewish soul is analogous to a candle, as it says, "The soul of man is G‑d's candle". (Proverbs 20:27)

May your soul burn brightly this Lag BaOmer!

 

Tags: Judaism, Israel, festivals, lag b'omer