Rav Yosef: Postpone Lag Ba’omer Because of “Certain Chillul Shabbos”


chacham-ovadiah-yosef[Letter below.] The Chief Rabbinate of Israel, backed by the p’sak of the head of the Moetzet Chachmei Hatorah of Shas, Chacham Ovadia Yosef, has called to postpone the lighting of the traditional Lag Ba’omerbonfires to Sunday to prevent chillul Shabbos.

Rav Yona Metzger and Rav Shlomo Amar have written a letter stating that there is widespread fear of the desecration of Shabbos when Lag Ba’omer falls on Sunday and the bonfires are lit on Motzoei Shabbos..

After consultation with leading rabbonim, and specifically Rav Ovadia Yosef, the letter states, “it was decided to postpone the lighting of fires from Motzoei Shabbos to Sunday.”

The main concern is that the preparations for the bonfires – by the police, fire department, and the public at large – begin at the height of the Shabbos day, and some of the fires around the country are actually lit on Shabbos.

The nationwide custom in Israel for decades, based on the practice in many communities and dating back to Rav Shimon bar Yochai, is to light bonfires on Lag Ba’omer. The central bonfire is lit at Rav Shimon’s kever in Meron and is accompanied by night-long singing and dancing in honor of Rav Shimon’s yahrtzeit.

The ruling of Rav Yosef comes a week after a religious-Zionist rabbinical organization worked to have Lag Ba’omer bonfires postponed by a day in order to prevent chillul Shabbos. The Tzohar Rabbis Organization had contacted the Education Minister, the Chief Rabbis, and others in an effort to effect the change.

Among the points mentioned by Rav Yosef to his talmid, Rabbi Amir Kripel, is that Chazal made a much more drastic move to safeguard the Shabbos when they suspended the mitzvah mide’Oraisah of blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah for fear of chillul Shabbos in that someone might carry a shofar in a reshus harabim. In fact, in this case, said Rav Yosef, it is not safeik, but a certainty that there will be chillul Shabbos. And, he said, it is not a Mideoraisah and not even Miderabonon.

Click here to view the letter from the chief rabbis, Rav Metzger and Rav Amar.

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. The minhag of lighting bon fires on Lag Baomer
    does NOT date back to the times of R.Shimon bar
    Yochai. see shu”t Shoel Umeishiv 5 39

  2. It is unbelievable the massive chillul shabbos that
    will be caused by travelling to Meron even if 2-3
    hours after tzeis. Thousands of police, bus drivers
    etc. are going to be mechallel shabbos to benefit
    frum yidden .

  3. There was no Lag BaOmer during rabbi Shimon’s time…

    Who writes this stuff?

    People who commemorate Lag BaOmer are not those who are likely to be mechallel Shabbos..

  4. From what I have heard, the secular communities, not yet frum as we understand it, hold all kinds of celebrations on Lag B’Omer. Many of the Torah community do not even go to Meron at all because of this. I don’t know what the majority of Torah Gedolim hold about this year, but to me it most probably would be better to postpone or even do away with whatever has to be, al pi sechel hayoshor.

  5. This is a good decision.

    Note that two weeks ago, Rav David Stav pleaded to move the date of the bonfires to avoid chilul shabbos.