Sunday, May 1, 2011

Send a prayer to Meron for Lag Ba'Omer

We are less than three weeks away from Lag Ba'Omer, the day of the passing of the holy Tanna Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, author of the Zohar, the wellspring of the deepest teachings of Judaism, the herald of the dawn of our redemption.

This year, tens of thousands of Jews from Israel and around the world will travel to Meron, where Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai is buried, to pray, dance and celebrate at his grave and light the traditional Lag Ba'omer bonfire.  Because Lag Ba'Omer falls on a Saturday night, many will arrive as early early to spend Shabbat there as well, in order to witness the igniting of the fire on Motzei Shabbos.

As Lag BaOmer approaches, please consider making a donation to Chai Rotel of the Kuppat Tzidkat Rashbi, who provide meals and basic necessities for visitors to contribute to the joy and holiness of this holy occasion. You can also send a free prayer to Meron which members of the Kollel Zohar-David Hamelech will print and recite at the kever. Wherever you are, it is good to light a candle and daven in the zechus of Rashbi for all types of physical and spiritual salvation.

The following story is recounted in the book Gedulat Yehoshua about the power of prayer and acts of chesed on this holy day:
One year, a famous millionaire paid ten thousand "Zehubim", an astronomical amount of money, for the right to kindle the fire. The massive crowd then began to dance and sing, in their great fervor not taking notice of the tremendous pressure.
The millionaire, who was standing on the roof, was inadvertently pushed and fell down to the courtyard, breaking both legs. His fall, however, went unnoticed by the crowd above, which was completely taken up by the celebrations. He lay there, writhing in pain, till someone walking through the courtyard hard him calling for assistance. He lifted the injured man into one of the adjacent rooms and went to call a doctor.
Meron of those times, however, did not have a single doctor, and the only option was to travel by horse and cart to the neighboring village, which took many hours, and when they finally returned to Meron, it was already well into the night.
Upon entering the room, they were startled to see it totally empty. They anxiously began searching for the patient, only to find him, to their utter amazement, dancing enthusiastically in the middle of the crowd. Pulling him over to the side they asked what had transpired, "I was laying on the floor, unable to move", he told them.
"Suddenly the holy Tanna, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, appeared, and said: Great happiness came about through you today, in my honor. Therefore it is my obligation to make you happy and to heal you". He then placed his holy hands on my broken legs. Immediately I was totally cured, and stood on my feet, joining the crowd dancing in honor of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.
In the zechus of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, may all of am Yisrael who need healing receive a complete and speedy refuah shlema, may all those in need of zivugim meet their chassan or kallah with no delay, may all of am Yisrael be blessed with abundant parnassa, and may our hearts be awakened to do teshuva and may we experience the complete and final redemption speedily in our days, with no delay.

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