Archive for the ‘Lag BaOmer’ Category

Meron/Kever Rashbi: New Jerusalem of Kabbalists – מירון/קבר רשב”י: הירושלים החדשה של מקובלים

May 19, 2022

Why are Kabbalah enthusiasts (this category includes many, if not all, modern Chassidim) so dedicated to visiting Meron, especially on Lag Baomer? Why, after the terrible, fatal stampede there last year that took tens of lives, have many recently doubled down on their Meron pilgrimages, clashing with government and police repeatedly in the process, at times violently?

A very important article on the subject was recently published at the Israeli כיכר השבת website. It shows how contemporary Kabbalists, specifically Israeli Chassidic leaders R. Yitzchak Meir Morgenstern and R. Gamliel Rabinowitz, have taught that Meron is more holy than the Western Wall (כותל מערבי), or even the Beis Hamikdash itself ( ! ), nowadays, with R. Rabinowitz saying that it is obligatory to visit Meron at present as it was to visit the Beis Hamikdash when it stood.

Of course, such notions are not accepted by, or known to, most observant Jews nowadays. But leaders and educated members of certain groups or sects are definitely aware of such notions and influenced by them, even if not accepting them totally explicitly in public.

Those who follow the holy mesorah of יהדות אשכנז stand far from such newfangled ideas, remaining mindful of the warnings of the great Chasam Sofer זצ”ל, against exalting מירון over ירושלים עיה”ק, as we have written here in the past.

May הקב”ה help us from falling into errant ideas and philosophies, and exalt the holy city, ירושלים עיה”ק, back to its previous greatness, במהרה בימינו, אכי”ר.


Lag Baomer Heresy Alert, Meron Alternatives, Bonfires Threaten Eruvin, and More: Iyar 5781 Roundup – אזהרה נגד מינות בשירת ל”ג בעומר, חלופות למירון, הדלקות נגד עירובין, ועוד: סקירת אייר תשפ”א

April 29, 2021

One of our most popular features historically has been coverage of the evolving Lag Ba’omer scene. So to keep the tradition going, we present a roundup of relevant news for 5781.

  1. Lag Ba’omer heresy alert: רב אשר ווייס שליט”א, the great תלמיד חכם and posek, has issued a warning against a heretical mispronunciation often heard on Lag Baomer. Those who follow the derech of אשכנז do not say or sing those words, but it is still noteworthy how a Chassidic poseik is speaking out against this serious error. There exist other issues relating to יחס לרשב”י worthy of being addressed as well. Perhaps in the future we will be זוכה.

2. Meron alternatives: Some Chassidim are promoting the idea that by visiting the graves of their Rebbes outside Eretz Yisroel one visits רשב”י as well, as they claim he will be at those sites.

Exhibit #1 – Bobov in New Jersey, USA. Exhibit # 2 – Lubavitch, NYC, USA.

3. Some additional Chassidic Rebbes are taking up the bonfire gig. I guess they figure that if you can’t hold your Chasidim from going off to fires of other Rebbes, join in to keep them close to you.

Exhibit #1 – Bobov-45 Rebbe. Exhibit #2 – Skulener Rebbe.

4. A Chareidi Rav and Eruv supervisor in ארץ ישראל warns against bonfire damage to עירובין, a special concern this year when Lag Ba’omer is on ערב שבת.

Of course, following the דרך הסלולה והישנה of מנהג אשכנז offers protection from such pitfalls.

In the zechus of following our holy מסורה, may we be protected and blessed.

חודש טוב ובשורות טובות

18 Iyar 5780: A Time to Return to the Lag Baomer of Old – ל”ג בעומר התש”פ: עת לשוב לל”ג בעומר הישן

May 11, 2020

השיבנו ה’ אליך ונשובה, חדש ימינו כקדם

It is time to go back to the old ל”ג בעומר (those that never left it are already set, some who have gone elsewhere can return, this year it is very easy to do so, with all the restrictions in place due to the pandemic).

It is time to return to תורת משה, as articulated and elucidated by the רבן של ישראל, רבי משה סופר, מרן החת”ם סופר זי”ע.

זכרו תורת משה עבדי – the Chasam Sofer wrote that that he would not join the Lag Baomer pilgrimage to to Meron.

The old Lag Baomer, when it meant a day marking when the dying of תלמידי רבי עקיבא stopped. Unlike later when it was changed to an ecstatic festival focusing on רשב”י, overshadowing its earlier meaning and way of observance.

How appropriate and fitting for the situation now, also a time of masses passing away, ה’ ירחם. We daven that this year too (if not earlier), as in those ancient days, Lag Baomer mark a time when that stops. בימים ההם בזמן הזה.

We need to focus on basics like תשובה תפילה וצדקה שמעבירין את רוע הגזירה. On תורה, מצות ומעשים טובים. On thanks to הקב”ה for all he has done for us in the past, הודאה על העבר, ותפילה על העתיד. Not on questionable “segulos” that can be costly in more ways than one, ר”ל.

Instead of כדאי הוא רבי שמעון לסמוך עליו בשעת הדחק, substitute אין עוד מלבדו, בלתי אל ה’ עינינו, and אין לנו על מי להישען אלא על אבינו שבשמים. I think רבי שמעון himself would go along with that.

In זכות of such a return to the דרך הישן, הקב”ה יאמר לצרותינו די.

ונזכה לקבלת התורה וביאת המשיח בב”א, אכי”ר

(More details on the above, and important previous posts here on ל”ג בעומר, containing a wealth of material you may not see elsewhere, can be seen via this link.)

בשכר זה הקב”ה ימלא רחמים עלינו וישלח לנו רפואה שלמה בתוך שאר חולי ישראל, רפואת הנפש ורפואת הגוף, השתא בעגלא ובזמן קריב

Lag Baomer and Chinuch -ל”ג בעומר ומצות חינוך

May 22, 2019

We recently read פרשת אמור אל הכהנים, where we are taught the important lesson, להזהיר גדולים על הקטנים, that not only gedolim/adults are obligated in the mitzvoh, but that also youngsters who have not reached the age of majority (adulthood) are to be under the guidance of their elders in it. The years of minority, before bar mitzvoh, are not a free for all, of anything goes.

Proper behavior in adulthood is developed by training the youth in their younger years in the ways of their elders. If children are not shown the proper way by them, they are at significant risk of going “OTD”, whether in a general sense, or in a more limited sense, ר”ל.

There are some mature adult institutions and individuals, who while not taking part in activities such as the Lag Baomer Meron pilgrimage, or bonfire celebrations themselves, nevertheless, think that it is okay for youngsters under their control or influence to do so. They think that they are only kids, so what is the problem? So there have arisen, in recent years, some such places they will even go so far as to arrange, on their premises, a bonfire with music and dancing for them, a sort of mini Meron. But such an approach sends dangerous mixed signals, and gets kids used to and comfortable with foreign practices. Not a good idea. The children can go on a outing to a park instead.

In the זכות of proper חינוך, may be zoche to much נחת from our children.

Dancing Around A Bonfire & Concern Of Foreign Practices: Rav Wosner’s Responsum – רקידה סביב מדורה וחשש דרכי אמורי: תשובת רב וואזנער ז”ל –

May 2, 2018

How do we view dancing around a bonfire through Torah eyes? Are there any issues regarding the practice? Well, believe it or not, there a teshuvah (responsum) from a leading halachic decisor on the issue.

Toras Aba just put up an interesting post discussing a halachic concern regarding dancing around a bonfire, due to similarity with ancient practice of idolators. It is based on a teshuvah (responsum) of one of the leading poskim of our era, Rav Shmuel Wosner z”l, stemming from a תוספתא that states המרקד לשלהבת הרי זה מדרכי אמורי.

Here is the full teshuvah of Rav Wosner (שו”ת שבט הלוי, חלק ז, יורה דעה סימן קלו).

Rav Wosner concludes that there is definitely a מקום (basis) to be מחמיר (stringent) and refrain from doing so. Toras Aba feels that is relevant to the Lag Baomer situation. A matter worthy of serious consideration.

That is in addition to many other reasons for people not to make bonfires, which have been touched on here in the past, e.g. safety, חשש גזל עצים, damaging air quality, refraining from new practices not practiced by our holy ancestors, etc.

May we merit a safe Lag Baomer, בין ברוחניות, בין בגשמיות, both spiritually and physically.

Chasidic Leader Articulates Anti-Lag Baomer Bonfire Stance – אדמו”ר נגד מדורה בל”ג בעומר

May 25, 2016

Over twenty years ago, a leading Chasidic leader laid out a case against having a Lag Baomer bonfire in New York at his Yeshiva in a public address. It seems that some in his community wanted to make one, even though it wasn’t the tradition of the group, but he spoke out strongly against such an innovation.

Due to the time of the year we are in now, and the fact that many people are under the false impression that all Chasidim are for lighting bonfires on Lag Baomer, I feel it is timely to share from the address he gave (the address was in Yiddish. A partial recording is online, but is not ideal for sharing due to some problems with it. So I will share some excerpts from it, translated).

The Rebbe said that a Lag Baomer bonfire was not seen or heard, not by their forefathers or Rebbes. Lag Baomer was observed for hundreds of years in Europe (where his Chasidic group originated), by Chasidishe Yidden, who were דבוק בתורת ר’ שמעון בר יוחאי (strongly attached to the teachings of R. Shimon bar Yochai), who celebrated and felt a special elevation on the day they held as his yahrzeit, but it was not with a bonfire that these feelings were manifested.

He then continues on to say that in Eretz Yisroel there is a bonfire custom, which started in Meron, and due to the fact that it was difficult for some people to go there, they did it in other locations there as well.

Lag Baomer, the Rebbe continued, is an Eretz Yisroel Yom tov. The velt says that Lag Baomer was given to Eretz Yisroel Yidden as a compensation for not having Yom tov sheini shel galuyos – יום טוב שני of the diaspora.

The Rebbe states that if we don’t know what to do, we go to the בית מדרש and study what our tradition is. He also points out that there are no ‘halachos’ regarding Lag Baomer bonfires, e.g. how large should it be – one story, two stories, עד לב השמים, how long should it burn, etc., which could bring to a situation of unhealthy competition among some to make a larger fire, add fuel, and so on. There is a danger in innovating customs, as who knows where it could lead in the future, היום אומר לו עשה כך, ולמחר אומר לו עשה כך, וכו, what might happen in future years. He then, warning of innovating practices seemingly under the guise of piety, of a יצה”ר המתלבש בגארטעל, not in accordance with tradition, cited the words from Tehillim  שמרה נפשי כי חסיד אני

The point of sharing this is to let people know (although we have touched on it before, see previous posts) that the Lag Baomer bonfire, especially, but not exclusively in the diaspora, is a point of major contention even among Chasidim, not practiced by certain major Chasidic groups (e.g. Gur, Satmar Williamsburg, Bobov, Lubavitch, etc.), and is by no means a universal practice. They should not be fooled by all the publicity, photos, videos, etc., to think that is a universal custom. All the more so among non-Chasidim, particularly Ashkenazim. No one should think that ‘everyone is doing it’, so they should ‘go along with the crowd’, because that is not the case.

When one adds to the equation the dangers of the fires – see e.g. multiple strong warnings in Eretz Yisroel this year warning of the dangers of the fires, e.g. this strong general warning, this warning specifically re eye danger, these guidelines from מד”א, and this directed to women, based on sad experience of injuries, ר”ל, from the past, the choice for us is clear – stick to your ancestral minhog, מנהג אבות, and stay away from the bonfire custom. The מצוה דאורייתא involving fire of the spring has already passed, a bit over a month ago, on erev Pesach, when the chometz was burned. Lag Baomer is a not a Pesach sheini for fire.

With wishes of a spiritually and physically healthy and safe Lag Baomer…..

P.S. Also noteworthy this year, for those who didn’t see it yet, is the strong statement from the ראשון לציון (echoed by his brother as well) against a mass pilgrimage to Meron. He urges his Sephardic brethren to emulate ליטאים שיושבים ולומדים בל”ג בעומר rather than those others who journey to Meron then.

Chacham Ovadia Yosef זצ”ל Never Went To Meron On Lag Baomer, And Was Pained By The Mass Pilgrimage There – (מפי בנו, הרב דוד יוסף שליט”א)

May 19, 2014

It is not just staunch Ashkenazim, proud of their great heritage, that refrain from going to Meron on Lag Baomer, and oppose participation in the activities there. Rav Elyashiv, zt”l, who never went there in his life (at any time of the year), did not stand alone in never taking part in the event. Okay, you might think, I understand, Rav Elyashiv had talmidim…but others, from other chugim, different backgrounds, with the same practice?

Yes! And where you may not have thought.

Chacham Ovadia Yosef, the recently niftar Sepharadic Torah giant, also never went to Meron on Lag Baomer, not even once, in his ninety three plus year life!

That was one of the things recently revealed by his son, לבחל”ח, Rav David Yosef, in a strong address about problematic aspects of Lag Baomer festivities.

In the recording attached to the linked article (worth checking out), Rav Yosef states, in strong and colorful language, among other things, that 1) his father, Chacham Ovadia, even in his youth, when he studied at Yeshiva Porat Yosef, on an occasion when the Yeshiva was in dire straits and a trip to kivrei tzadikim in the north of Eretz Yisroel was arranged for the benefit of the Yeshiva, declined to participate in it, insisting instead on staying where he was and learning Torah, 2) Rav David Yosef himself refused entreaties to go to Meron on Lag Baomer, even via special, exclusive  helicopter transit, and, as his father, has never been there on that day, 3) he went through the chumash hundreds of times and has never seen the ‘מצות עשה’ to make ‘aliyah liregel’ to Meron then, 4) שומר נפשו, someone who guards his soul, should be careful about such things, 5) אין לך ביטול תורה גדול מזה.

We see here a great example of the common practice and outlook of paramount gedolim, at the pinnacle of Torah leadership in our time. Both Sepharadic and Ashkenazic recognized the problematic aspects of the Meron pilgrimage and stayed away.

ומהם ילמדו וכן יעשו, אכי”ר

Lag Baomer In The Eyes Of The Litvishe Tradition: R. Dov Halbertal’s Critique, Rendered Into English – ל”ג בעומר בעיני גדולי ומסורת ליטא

May 1, 2013

(Although I posted about R. Halbertal’s piece earlier this week, I noticed that many readers did not click on the link to his Hebrew article there, thereby missing out on the full flavor and power of the piece. Since I believe it reflects well, to a great degree, the viewpoint of the Ashkenazic tradition in general, as well as the Litvishe way, and is therefore worthy of wider dissemination, I decided to attempt an English rendering of it, which follows. It is not an authorized translation in consultation with R. Halbertal, so I cannot claim to have captured his every point and nuance, but I think it conveys his message, generally speaking.

Note: Some of the phenomena that R. Halbertal is reacting to may not be familiar to readers who have not been to Meron, as well as readers in the diaspora, so please keep that in mind before jumping to conclusions.)


In recent years, there is developing and spreading a phenomenon that sees in the Lag Baomer celebrations a מצוה גדולה (great mitzvah), which is almost obligatory. The day is not far when people will be embarrassed if they did not take part in the pilgrimage to the tomb of Rav Shimon Bar Yochai, and the celebrations surrounding it. All this with great support and backing, along with strong promotion, from the secular and religious media.

I do not come, חלילה, to damage the old traditions of ascending to the kever and kindling lights and praying there. However, in recent years, the phenomenon has gotten out of hand, exceeding its actual importance and proper boundaries.

Relating to such a phenomenon requires introspection regarding the position of גדולי ישראל, the great leaders of the Jewish people, with regard to it. In one of his talks, Rav Schach remarked that the Lag Baomer celebrations are not a ‘great mitzvah’ – that the Chazon Ish was very meticulous in his pursuit of mitzvos, and if it was such a great mitzvah he would have been pursued it, and ascended to the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai himself. Rav Elyashiv as well, was asked a great many times about it,  especially in the later years, with the growth of the phenomenon. His response was given in various formulations, such as ‘I was never there’, ‘Rav Shimon (Bar Yochai) is in the Mishnah’, and so on.

And if the Chazon Ish, Rav Schach, Rav Elyashiv, Roshei Yeshivos, and many other gedolim, saw in Lag Baomer a day to be emphasized with a strengthening of Torah learning, can we know better than they? What is all the great streaming to Meron, and the multiplicity of ceremonies, that lack commonality with the world of these paramount leaders, who shaped the way of Torah and the world of Yeshivos in the land of Israel?

The coarseness that surrounds the day threatens the centrality of Torah learning 

One can say that the great drift and the developing trend surrounding the day, that sees the celebration of Lag Baomer at the tomb of Rashbi as an obligatory commandment, stems in great measure from the fact that the chiloni (non orthodox) public, which seeks Jewish identity without properly finding it, finds it proper to perform commandments according to the inclinations of their emotions, which do not stem from a sense of obligation.

Similarly, the ease of traveling there, and the many ‘tikkunim’ that are performed for many problems there, encourage and contribute to the phenomenon. The various media contribute to the development of the phenomenon, directly or indirectly, by way of extended and detailed descriptions of the celebrations of the day, and interviews with public personalities and Rabbis who proclaim great importance to the ascent to the tomb and related matters.

The vulgarity that surrounds the various circles of the religious public at these celebrations threatens the centrality of Torah learning, and the understanding that that is the true will of Rav Shimon Bar Yochai, rather than the transformation of the day to a full day of celebration and partying, that is not accepted by the recorders of oral traditions, and transmitters of our tradition.

I write all this because, it seems to me, that people have even ceased to talk about it.

Rav Elyashiv, Rav Shach, and the Chazon Ish, זצ”ל, On Going To Meron On Lag Baomer: Rav Elyashiv’s Talmid (Student) Speaks Out

April 30, 2013

I just came upon, not long ago, a critical analysis by a mekurav of Rav Elyashiv זצ”ל, R. Dov Halbertal, להבחל”ח , that expresses well the point of view of very important gedolei Yisroel about the problematic nature of the Meron pilgrimage nowadays. Although it focuses on the viewpoint of gedolei Lita, namely Rav Elyashiv, the Chazon Ish and Rav Schach, זצ”ל, commenters mention that, להבחל”ח, Rav Ovadya Yosef and Rav Shmuel Wosner שליט”א also have taken similar positions with regard to the Lag Baomer event. So you have quite a spectrum of top level gedolim there expressing similar concerns.  Highly recommended reading!

Additionally, those that follow the news know about the chaos and צער that many suffered from in and around Meron this year in particular. Which reminds me of a story (brought in פניני מנהג – ל”ג בעומר, דף לח) regarding Rav Akiva Sofer, the דעת סופר. After he left Pressburg and fled to Eretz Yisroel due to the persecutions around WWII, one year he set out to travel to Meron (I am assuming to observe the goings on there). On the way, his vehicle broke down, necessitating lengthy repairs Whereupon he decided not to continue on to Meron then, even though things had already been fixed. He waited until after Lag Baomer to resume his journey, remarking that מן השמים, from Heaven, they do not allow him to go (on Lag Baomer), due to the קפידא (objection to the practice of the pilgrimage then) of his forebear, the Chasam Sofer. This shows how a גדול בישראל reacts to such phenomena. He makes a חשבון הנפש, he practices introspection.

וממנו ילמדו וכן יעשו, אכי”ר

What Lag Baomer Hype Inc. Doesn’t Tell You – Lesser Known Facts and Aspects Of ח”י אייר

April 25, 2013

We have written about this in the past (see here and here), but it bears repeating yet again. One should learn relevant halachos and mesoros in general, to be ready when a special day on the calendar approaches, but certainly in a case where there is a bombardment of advertising and hype not in accordance with our מסורה, it is especially important to review our holy traditions. In that spirit, I will share with you some things that have come to my attention while studying the sugya of ל”ג בעומר ע”פ מנהג אשכנז.

Firstly, let me say that it seems clear that a significant amount of the hype seems to be emanating from commercial interests. For example, travel companies that sell trips to Eretz Yisroel and Meron, charities that are selling tefillos and segulos, as well as those that advertise and market such things,

If you went by the impression given by them, you might think that the Meron Lag Baomer pilgrimage, as well as bonfires everywhere, among other things, are basic, universally accepted among כלל ישראל, and undisputed. However, that is actually quite wrong.

In posts on Lag Baomer in previous years, we mentioned very prominent authorities, great תלמידי חכמים, gedolei Yisroel, who rejected these practices. Some rejected all, some just some of them, or certain parts and aspects. But you won’t learn that from reading the hype ads and marketing material. One needs to dig a bit deeper at times to find out this info, which is sometimes overshadowed and drowned out by the glitzy marketing blitz from the others. It also helps if one is good at reading between the lines.

Tidbits From A Recent Work On Lag Baomer 

Anyway, in preparation for the approaching day, I was looking through a great compendium of information on ל”ג בעומר which came out a few years ago, a small soft covered work of over four hundred pages, called פניני מנהג – ל”ג בעומר by a R. Yitzchok Tessler from New York. Although the author is Chasidic, and much of the material in it is in accordance with the well known customs of some Chasidim, as practiced in Meron and elsewhere, there is still a wealth of information on other minhogim and variant customs there as well, which makes it a valuable source of information.

I will share some nuggets from there with you.

1) P.37 – Once a Chasid wanted to travel to Meron, but the Belzer Rebbe, R. Aharon Rokeach, did not permit him to do so, saying ‘the kedushah of Rav Shimon Bar Yochai is everywhere’.

This is similar to Rav Elyashiv zt”l, who never went to Meron, in over a century of life, despite living so long in ארץ ישראל, who said that he feels closer to Rav Shimon bar Yochai learning a blatt gemara, as well as to the Gerrer Rebbe, the Beis Yisroel (see #5).

2) P. 42-3 – Minhag Chalab (Aleppo – a prominent and important Syrian Jewish community, with an important diaspora as well) was not to make bonfires on Lag Baomer, as well as not to make chalakas (upsherin) in general, all year. This information is quite interesting, as it is not an Ashkenazic kehillah.

3) P. 58 – The Lelover Rebbe, R. Moshe Mordechai Biderman, did not go to Meron for Lag Baomer. Rather he went for Shabbos בהעלותך usually.

4) P.60 – R. Avrohom Yitzchok Kahan of תולדות אהרן (a Chasidic group in ירושלים)  told his Chasidim that in their beis medrash they have all the segulos, as in all the holy places (=not necessary to go to Meron).

5) P.66 – The Gerrer Rebbe, R. Yisroel Alter (the בית ישראל) said to a bochur that wanted to ascend to Meron, הרי יש לך את רבי שמעון בגמרא…(you have Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai in the gemara that you study…).

6) P.67 – The Vizhnitzer Rebbe did not go to Meron on Lag Baomer, and did not allow Yeshiva bochurim to do so. He only went after the day and only allowed older bochurim same.

7) P.126 – In Bavel (Iraq) no זכר to custom some have of lighting bonfires.

8) P. 126 -It seems that it was not commonly done in Yemen either.

9) P.127 – At the court of the Pshevorsker Rebbe, R. Yaakov Leizer (a famous European Chasidic Rebbe), the custom was not to make a bonfire, aka הדלקה.

10) P.133-4 – Perushim (פרושים) (i.e. devout, non-Hasidic, old time Jerusalemites, descendants of students/followers of the Gaon of Vilna and others) in Yerusholayim (ירושלים עיה”ק) did not celebrate Lag Baomer in the past in a major way. Even when a bonfire was lit nearby by Chasidim, and a Chasid came into the Beis Medrash and screamed at them why they didn’t come out to it, they didn’t pay heed to him at all, and not one went out. Note: This (the Perushim) is the community from which Moreinu Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv z”l emerged – so when he didn’t go to Meron his whole life (over a century, including approximately ninety years in Eretz Yisroel), he was reflecting these values of that tzibbur. Even the Chasidic celebrations there (in ירושלים) were limited in the old days.

11) P.190-2- The Satmar Rebbe, (the דברי יואל) went to Meron and was mispallel for children at kever Rashbi. He even promised, with his Rebbetzin, that if they had a son, they would name him Shimon (after Rashbi). But they didn’t have a son (all the stories about people having children after davening there, and then naming them Shimon, evidently didn’t pan out in his case. On the other hand, I guess he didn’t donate to Kupat Hair, maybe that was the problem. Even though it wasn’t around then yet…;-).

12) P.348 – At the Maharil (מהרי”ל) they would sometimes have a siyum for the tractates of gemara that they learned during the winter Yeshiva zman, on Lag Baomer.

13) Chapter 22, especially P.352-4 – Some who were far from Meron, even outside Eretz Yisroel, had a custom to visit other kevorim, קברי ישראל, קברי צדיקים, on that day.

14) P.367-8 – Some had a minhag to then learn Torah from the רמ”א, whose yahrzeit is on ל”ג בעומר.

15) P.419 – In סקווירא they are noheig hilchos uminhogei sefira even on Lag Baomer (that seems to imply even with regard to music. With regard to haircutting, there are others who do so, more or less, as well, such as Belz, Lubavitch, and others. ע”פ האר”י ז”ל).

More About Bonfires Specifically

I would like to make some other comments re bonfires. Namely, that it seems that it was not the practice even among some other very prominent Chasidic groups, in addition to those mentioned previously, above and in previous posts, in the past and/or present as well.

For example, with regard to Lubavitch, it is brought down on P.122 of the above cited work, that the Rebbe Rashab gave orders to purchase the first hadlokoh in Chevron one year. But I don’t recall seeing any mention of him having one in Lubavitch itself. I don’t recall seeing that the last Lubavitcher Rebbe had one at his court either (although I wasn’t there :).

On p.126 it is brought that in recent years there a large bonfire near the large Belzer Beis Medrash (in ירושלים עיה”ק). The implication is that it was not done previously. Also, interestingly, it states that the Rebbe gazes at it from his porch. Which indicates a distance and perhaps distancing of himself from it somewhat as well. Interesting.

Bobov doesn’t have a bonfire hadlokoh at the Rebbe’s court either (info from Bobover Chasidim). Interestingly, also re Bobov, it seems that they do not have or did not have musical instrumental accompaniment on Lag Baomer as well (brought in above mentioned work and heard from a Bobover).

Now those are major Chasidic groups, not just a few people. So the point is that the bonfire custom, especially outside the Holy Land, ארץ ישראל, is by no means a universal, long time practice.

בתפלה להשי”ת that we have a good and safe Lag Baomer, ברוחניות ובגשמיות…


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