Sunday, May 02, 2010

Lag BaOmer: Historical Mistake

I've heard may gush about Lag Ba'Omer, its mystical power, how hundreds of thousands flock to the grave of R' Shimon Bar Yochai, give "chai rottel", etc.

Personally, I think the hoopla surrounding the day has reached pagan dimensions, with ads around Israel screaming, "give chai rottel and you'll receive salvation."

I blogged before how the origins are most probably based on historical mistakes, here, here and here.

Tonight, my wife commented on how people are michalel shabbat to collect firewood on Shabbat, so they can burn it for the "bonfire mitzva" tonight...and how the Rabbanut is considering pushing off Lag BaOmer bonfires when it falls out on a Saturday night.

I think we should do away with most of it anyway.

JoeSettler adds:

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Mrs. S. said...

I think we should do away with most of it anyway.
I don't think there's a parent in the country who disagrees with you...

Anonymous said...

There you go again, with your poisonous ulterior motived agenda, trying to corrupt the innocent tmimusdik masses...

yoni r. said...

Lag Ba'omer will prove to be a difficult day to get rid of. After being spoiled by Nissan, a "breather" day from Tachanun is most welcome among all observant Jews.

Olah Chadasha said...

I totally agree.

annie said...

Whether we celebrate Lag Ba'Omer or not, I still have not fully understood the reason for the bonfires. Why can't we just celebrate with food and drink and music? Who needs the fires?

Gee a Moron said...

This year was the best Lag B'omer yet. The kids had their fires but we did not wake to a stinking mess because the rains put it out in the middle of the night.

Anonymous said...

Agree wholeheartedly. There's no basis for it in halacha, and it causes the kid to get all pressured about collecting wood, and of course to stealing wood from each other. It is a huge waste of good wood, creates real danger, and in my yishuv an email circulated with reports from previous years of alchohol and boy-girl stuff at bonfires.

There's little question in my mind that even if there is some solid basis for this minhag in authentic Jewish tradition (BIG if), "yatza scharo behefsedo."


Lady-Light said...

One of the major differences I saw when we lived in Israel (and that was 29 years ago; apparently it hasn't changed) was that youth were building bonfires everywhere, in the street, on lawns, in parks, etc. It seemed as if there were no prohibitions as to where to start a fire.

In the States it's much more regulated. You just can't 'start a fire' wherever you want, or you'll be subject to a fine, or worse.

I think the remedy for this Lag ba-Omer problem is simple: better regulation. The Israeli gov't should designate certain areas, say, a supervised roped-off area in public parks such as Gan haAtzma'ut and Gan Sacher, for example--as permissible for medurot.

Here (in galut), we don't do anything motzai Shabbat; we celebrate the chag during the day, with a BBQ and picnic, and zmirot, such as 'Bar Yochai'. So there is no danger of chilul Shabbat.

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