Saturday, May 17, 2014

Lag B'Omer in Jerusalem

When do we light the bonfires for the memory of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, the writer of the Zohar? 

According to the Chief Rabbanate, since there is not a Torah law, nor even a Rabbanic law to light bonfires in his memory, if the 33rd day of the Omer falls on Shabbat, like it did this year, then the bonfires should be pushed off until the next day to avoid any and all violations of Shabbat.  The same applies to Rosh Hashana, Succot and the reading of the Megilla.  These are Torah and Rabbanic customs, and there is no blowing of the Shofar on Shabbat, no waving of the Four Species on Shabbat and no reading of the Megialla on Shabbat.  Also, the contemporary holidays of Israeli Memorial day of the Soldiers and Israeli Independence Day are pushed off a day for the Honor of Shabbat. 

This same logic should apply to bonfires.  In the rest of the world, the memorial of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai is not marked with a bonfire, it is against the law to light fires anywhere you want.  If you want a bonfire, you must get a permit from the fire department, and even then you have to have it in a place where there is supervision, as well as have a large quantity of sand and water in order to put it out when you are finished. You are not allowed to let a fire burn itself out.  There can't be even an ember burning.  

But last night there were some bonfires as you can see.  It would be much better that people would actually open the Zohar and study the real fire of the Torah instead of burning wood.

So, if you have to burn, then tonight, Sunday night is the time to do this.  and Happy Lag B'Omer. 

Rachael Alice 
Now is the time to schedule your long-overdue hair cut! 

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