Photo Credit: Jodie Maoz

Once a year on the 33rd day of the Omer, thousands of Jews from Israel and all over the world, come and celebrate this glorious day together with Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. There are so many reasons to celebrate on this special day. On of the reasons was that this was the day that the students of Rabbi Akiva stopped dying. This was also the day that Rabbi Shimon gave us the holy works of the books of the Zohar that he completed on this special day.’

Since the horrible casualty that occurred on this joyous day two years ago, when so many of Rabbi Shimon’s holy souls were taken away from us in such a terrible stampede, there have been so many mixed emotions for so many of us. There have been many changes on the mountain top and on the surrounding hills. The efforts and the preparations that were made for all of the celebrations to take place in the best way have been tremendous. Each year most of the celebrations took place at the grave site on top of the mountain. This year they expanded to the entire hill of Meron. Huge air-conditioned tents were set up on every corner possible to accommodate all the thousands of Jews that came to enjoy. Dancing, learning, eating and praising Hashem on this wonderful and holy day. The music that fills the air, can be heard for miles around. As one comes up the road leading to Meron the hearts start to sing and come alive. The excitement that is felt coming near the mountain, is electrifying . It is said that on this day it’s like a wedding.


The day that a holy rabbi and a true leader of the nation of Israel passes away it’s a happy day. Rabbi Shimon is sitting right next to the throne and is helping the children of Israel from the best place possible. He sees who came to celebrate with him on this joyous day and presents on their behalf to the Almighty. When I went up to Meron I could feel the spirit on the mountain light up in my soul. There was fire not only because of the bonfires, but because of the energy and the powerful vibes that were felt throughout the whole night and day. It seemed as if the whole world was there. Everyone was so happy and everyone was praying. Everyone was together and praying for the true redemption. When I stood there on the mountain with all the people of Israel I was filled with happiness, a feeling that I assume will be when the true full redemption will be upon us when we will all come together in the city of Jerusalem. True there were many limitations and guards and police that were put around the mountain in order to help make sure the casualties won’t happen again. I believe that Rabbi Shimon is protecting the mountain and is watching over us. It is a hard concept to understand how, despite this great day and its great holiness, such a casualty and tragedy could have happened only two years ago. These are answers that only G-d knows and we are not to judge why this happened on such a holiday.

We’ve had many casualties and tragedies happen to the Jewish people that are beyond our understanding, beyond our grasp. We only know that there is a reason and we don’t always know the answers. Once we go up to the heavens when we finished with our job in this world after 120 we will understand G-d’s infinite ways of mercy and goodness.

I have been going to Meron for so many years, over 20 years on this special day, I cannot imagine this day anywhere else but by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s side. I felt hugged, I felt loved, I felt protected, and I felt like the heavens were opened wide to all my heart’s desires. I poured out my heart and prayed and sang and was lifted high above all my worries. It is important that we give these values to our children and to our grandchildren. This is not just a regular day. This is a special day to get power for the entire country and the entire Jewish people. We must keep praying to receive the full redemption. This can only be done with the power of our holy leaders. Their merit alone could save the entire world. However G-d has His plans and a time span for the people of Israel and therefore we are still waiting for the redemption.

May all our prayers reach the heavenly courts the heavenly chambers, and may peace & love fill the whole world and the nation of Israel. Amen.

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Michal can be reached at [email protected]