Jewish Soul Journey

LAG BI-OMER – THE DAY OF JOY AND UNITY

                                                                         

            As we soon
approach the awesome day of Lag Bi-Omer, in which as many of five hundred
thousand people will come from all over the world to be together in Moron with
the Tana Rabbi Shimon Bar Yocai, there is to ask: what is the underlying
unifying drawing power of this day and this Sage? To embellish this question,
let us realize that logically speaking, Rabbi Shimon attraction should be
mainly only those few individuals who delve into his sacred text of Kabbalah,
known as the Zohar. Also there is to ask – how is it that such a diverse makeup
of Jewish people, ranging from the Ultra Orthodox to the far left irreligious
and everyone else in between are all drawn to the same place, time and person?
Another irony in the spirit of this unique day where unity and joy have supreme
reign is that Rabbi Shimon, like his named predecessor long before – Shimon the
son of Yaakov both had within them a propensity of the meda of gavurot – strict
judgment as seen by the story of Schem and Shimon’s reaction and with the story
of Rabbi Shimon bar Yocai’s response when he saw someone working.

               This
then leads us to another interesting question along the same lines: Since Lag
Bi-Omer  corresponds to the seferiot –
hod within hod (submission within submission), what is the deeper lesson of
Aahron Ha-Kohan, who corresponds to the attribute of hod and is best known for
loving and pursuing (ohav shalom and rodaf sholom) peace, being a direct
descendent from Levi also participated in the misa of gavrot in the story of
Schem?

                A
final question is to ask: What if any is the significance of the bow and arrows
that are customarily played with on Log Bi Omer?

                
Perhaps all these questions can be understood by realizing that although
it may sound counter intuitive, it is specifically those people who have a
certain “extreme” propensity, such as strong gavuros, can through great effort
actually spring all the way over to the other end of the spectrum thereby
coming to emulate the attribute of chesed even more than those naturally
inclined.

                I once
heard such a story where a well known Rav, who was particularly appreciated for
his kindly nature, when asked how he achieved such an exalted level responded
that his natural propensity was to be aloof and negative but after years of
working on himself he “sprang” over to the opposite extreme of  being friendly and positive.

               So also
it may be that this day of hod within hod that corresponds to Aahron Ha Kohan
and is the Yortiet of Rabbi Shimon bar Yocai 
is truly a day of joy because it teaches all of us that no one is forced
to live by their mazel but just like an arrow’s distance and speed forward is
dependent on the thrust of the bow backward, so also it is specifically those
who have a propensity of one extreme can actually, like the arrow, be
catapulted to the furthest point at the opposite extreme.

                 This
explanation now explains why there is such a large varied group of Jews that
are drawn to Moron on Log Bi Omer because the message of this day is that
anyone and everyone can learn to love and pursue peace and that there is no
better place on the earth this day to put it into practice.

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