The Jewish world is going to celebrate the 33 day of the Omer counting period (Lag ba’Omer) tonight and tomorrow. Those who can, travel up to Meron to the Kever of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. The whole week, the Egged bus company has been setting up special buses in order to take the masses up to the northern part of the country. Many chassidic Rebbes have already arrived in Meron and those who are still in Bnei Brak or Jerusalem are traveling tomorrow morning.
The first Hilula (fire) will be lit tonight. Tourists can go to the Kotel (Western Wall) and watch the traditional Lag ba’Omer fire there. I am planning to go to Mea Shearim but I have to see if I am able to, as I have to undergo dentist treatment first. 🙂
Although Lag ba’Omer is not an official Jewish holiday, there is still a special atmosphere in the air. Especially in Jerusalem. However, Meron should be packed by now and I am glad not having to squeeze through the masses. I just hope that it is not too commercial up there. Na Nach Breslover and others selling souvenirs and everyone wanting to make profit. When I was visiting the Arizal Synagogues as well as other Synagogues in the nearby Zfat, it made me upset that everyone was just asking for money.
As a visitor you get the impression that you are obligated to pay an entrance fee because the old guy sitting on a plastic chair at the entrance serves as a guard. But these people don’t work there but just come with a plastic chair in the morning and pretend being some kind of an official. The truth is that there are nothing else but beggars.
Okay, so let us give Zedakah but if I am cheating, I do get upset. Next time in Zfat, I will show up with a plastic chair and “earn” some money. 🙂
The following pictures I took at the Kever of Shimon bar Yochai in summer 2010: