Last night and today is Lag Ba’Omer. Almost time for Shavuot. Cheesecake time, yummy!
Most of us unfortunately do not remember what this day is suppose to remind us about. What we do know is that it is the day of Bonfires throughout Israel.
The day commemerates a special man by the name of Rabbi Shimon. He was a great sage who lived during the Roman conquest of Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. He was one of Rabbi Akiva’s five students who — despite terrible persecutions — ensured that the Torah would not be forgotten. During the Roman conquest, he went and hid in a cave to continue to learn and teach Torah so that all would not be forgotten.
The bonfires are to remind us how the Jews used to warn eachother when the Romans were coming. They would light a bonfire on top of a hill and it would then the next hill would see it and light it. There is also a huge migration to his kever (buriel spot) up on Har Meron.
Lag Ba’Omer is the day for all of us to become pyromaniacs. Building bonfires … whoo hoo hoo! Last night a bunch of us got together to build our own bonfire. Jordan, Jason and Meir saved a wood desk that was ready to be trashed and we burned it yesterday. We brought wine, marshmellows, a bbq grill (cant grill hotdogs on a burning pile of wood- ugh), nuts and waffels to munch on while we all sat around the fire trying not to get too much smoke in our eyes. Some people even donned sunglasses to keep the smoke out of the eyes. We were one group with our own bonfire in a sea of other bonfires. Some were larger then others, some were just plain stupid. One group of kids spent the entire night bringing in wood. Where they found that much wood to build a 6 ft bonfire …I just think that someone somewhere is missing all the wood from their construction site.
One person made a comment about how interesting the connection between the bonfire, wood and fire is. Wood symbolizes the Torah… so then why are we burning it? On the other hand, the point was made that in order to extinguish the fire you must use water which is also the symbol of Torah. The connection between the two is that even though the symbols of torah is both fire and water sound contradictory, they arent. From both from fire and water comes life. When a forest burns… foilage returns. There is a re-birth of what once was. Water sustains our world. Without it we would all die.