Anyone who has been fortunate enough to pour their hearts out at the Tanna Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai in Meron on Lag B’Omer recalls these sweet memories their whole life.
The singing and dancing with other Jews from all walks of life until the wee hours of the night is an experience that bonds itself with the soul.
Why is Meron such a special place for Yeshuos?
On the 33rd day of the Omer, Rebbe Shimon left this world. The Zohar describes, he gathered his closest students together and shared with them the secrets of the Holy Torah. He told them that this day should be a day of rejoicing and celebration because “it is my day of joy”. The Zohar describes how as his bed was surrounded with a pillar of fire entering the cave floating on air, a Heavenly Voice called out, “Come and gather for the hillulah of Rebbe Shimon”. Rav Aharon of Karlin says that all those who believe in Rebbe Shimon will be uplifted by Rebbe Shimon. Countless people have seen tremendous yeshuos either for children, marriage, livelihood, or health, because they have contributed to increasing the simcha of Lag B’omer in Meron.
The Sages explain that miracles were routine for Rebbe Shimon and the Talmud describes many stories about the miraculous wonders Rebbe Shimon performed even after he has left this world. The Arizal says, “On Lag B’omer the Tanna Rashbi stands at his holy resting place and blesses each and every person that comes to pray there and rejoice in his name on his holy Yartzeit.”
The Gemara (Succah 45:) tells us that Reb Shimon bar Yochai said, “I can free everyone from judgment…” Reb Shimon in particular says this claim on Lag b’Omer, as the Chidushei HaRim said: Every year, on Lag b’Omer, Reb Shimon once again cries out his famous statement, “I can exempt the entire world from punishment!”
The Chida (Moreh b’Etzba 223) writes: “Be happy in honor of Reb Shimon bar Yochai, because Lag b’Omer is his hilula (day of celebration) and it is known that he desired that people should rejoice on this day.” And when we rejoice on this day, and when we pray on this day, we can expect miracles to happen to us.
Lag b’Omer is also the day to daven for parnassah, because according to one Midrash, the manna began to fall on Lag b’Omer.
In addition, Shimon Bar Yochai is gematriya V’Refuasav, so the hilulah of Lag b’Omer is also special for refuah. It is known that the sefirah Hod is special for refuah. Reb Pinchas of Koritz said, Lag b’Omer, which is the sefirah Hod S’bhod is certainly mesugal for refuah.
The Bnei Yissaschar writes,”We heard from reliable sources that the joy that is by Reb Shimon’s in Meron [on Lag b’Omer] is supernatural. It is as it says, “the light of tzaddikim brings joy.”
The Ta’amei HaMinchagim says that numerous people have been helped by donating “Chai Rotel” for the seuda in Meron. Rotel is an ancient measurement and 18 rotel is roughly 54 liters of wine. The practice of donating money for food and drinks in Meron is supported by such luminaries like Rav Ovadia M’Bartenura and the Sheloh Hakadosh. Rabbi Yehudah Leib Horenstein, Tal LeYisroel, writes that he met two people on Lag B’omer in Meron that donated Chai Rotel and had children after more than 10 years of marriage. The Bobover Rav, The Kedushas Tzion, sent a letter from Poland to his Chassidim in Israel asking them to donate chai rotel in Meron on this holy day on behalf of a couple that did not have children.
Preparing for this Year
More than 430 years ago, the first Rashbi hachnassas orchim group was formed to prepare for the special day’s gigantic crowds. In 1998, Rabbi Yehoshua Biderman founded Yeshuos Rashbi to continue this tradition.
Yeshuos Rashbi has begun their preparations to accommodate the largest Jewish gathering in the world. The tents are already set up and our staff has spent sleepless nights preparing for thousands of visitors and getting ready to host the single largest Seudah Hilulah for Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai in Meron. We are preparing hundreds of tables, thousands of chairs and over 15,000 portions- more than 1.5 tons of meat to accommodate the largest crowd ever. And of course, we have bought thousands of liters of drinks and hundreds of pounds of cake to give out as Chai Rotel.
Every year the crowds increase and more and more people travel to daven at the resting place of the holy Tanna. It is known that the kever of Rebbe Shimon bar Yochi is steeped in ancient majesty. Everyone who visits the site feels a strong spiritual stirring, an incredible longing to cleave to Hashem. The soul yearns to be with its Creator; a pathway opens and stretches directly toward Heaven. Even if you are thousands of miles away, now you too can have a part in creating joining in this. Help Yeshuos Rashbi prepare for the largest Seudas Hilulah in Meron by generously donating Chai Rotel. By increasing simcha on Lag B’omer, Hashem will surely increase the simcha in your life.