Jewish Soul Journey



            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 than this day to put it into practice.

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