Recently, a stampede at the religious festival attended by tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews in northern Israel killed dozens of people and injured about 150.
- They were gathered at the reputed tomb of Shimon Bar Yochai for Lag B’Omer.
- The incident is widely being described as one of the country’s deadliest civilian disasters.
What is the Lag B’Omer festival?
- Lag B’Omer is an annual Jewish festival.
- It is celebrated in the Hebrew month of Iyar.
- The festival is celebrated on the thirty third day of the Omer.
- Omer is the forty-nine days of time period between Passover and Shauvot.
- Lag B’Omer is the only day during the 49-day period when celebration is permitted.
- The Jews schedule weddings on Lag B’Omer.
- The young boys who have reached the age of three are brought here (to Meron) for their first haircut.
- To mark the occasion, tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jewish pilgrims make their way to the base of Mount Meron every year, to pay their respects to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a second century sage and mystic, who is believed to have died on this day.
- The Rabbi’s tomb is a much revered holy site in Israel.
- The Lag B’Omer celebrations are associated with bonfires.
- Lag B’Omer commemorates two historic events of the Jewish history. They are:
- The death of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai
- The death anniversary of 24,000 students of Akiva Ben Yosef who died of Plague.
- Akiva Ben Yosef is another Rabbi who lived in the same period as that of Shimon Bar.
- It was Yochai who instructed to commemorate the death anniversary of 24,000 students of Yosef during Lag B’omer.
Who is a Rabbi?
- Rabbi is a Jewish teacher or scholar. He mainly teaches Jewish law. They are generally referred to Mishnaic sage.
- Mishnah is the written collection of Jewish oral traditions. It is also called Oral Torah. Mishnah was one of the earliest works of Jewish. It was written in third century.