Lag B’Omer marks the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, whose teachings form a foundation of Jewish mysticism.
By Pesach Benson, TPS
Lag B’Omer marks the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a second century sage whose teachings continue to serve as a foundation of Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism. Jews in Israel and around the world traditionally celebrate his life with with bonfires.
The yearly event at his grave, on Mt. Meron in the Upper Galilee, draws around 100,000.
The holiday also marks the day when a plague which killed 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva between the Passover and Shavuot holidays came to an end. Despite intense Roman persecution, Rabbi Akiva went on to ordain five students who all made major contributions to Jewish law and the teaching of it.
The 2021 pilgrimage became Israel’s worst civilian disaster when 45 people were killed and another 150 were injured during a stampede. An investigation concluded the tragedy was caused by overcrowding on a faulty walkway.
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