Lag B’ Omer

Today is Lag B’omer. The emphasis of this day is very different between Chassidim and Kabbalists and Ashkenazi Mitnagdim.

The latter focus on Rabbi Akiva and the end of the plague to his students. They also mention Bar Kochba and his rebellion and the custom of bows and arrows.

The Chassidim and Kabbalists focus more on the Yahrtzeit of רבי שמעון בר יוחאי and his contribution of bringing light unto the world by writing the Zohar. They see this day as very auspicious for all kinds of סגולות. In the merit of Rabbi Shimon, prayers are especially answered on this day.

The Zohar was brought alive in later years by the Ari Z’l, and the Baal Shem Tov. For this reason, the majority of the half million that visit Meron tonight are Chassidim and Sephardim. In any case, Lag B’omer is a special and happy day for עם ישראל.