There is something about Lag Ba’omer that I just cannot understand. I understand that we celebrate this special day for a number of reasons. The talmidim of Rebbi Akiva stopped dying on this day. Rav Shimom bar Yochai revealed to us secrets of the Torah. Three thousand halachos were introduced on the day Rav Shimon bar Yochai died.
There is a true cause for celebration. This inyan is brought in halacha and goes back many generations.
There is also a minhag to shoot bows and arrows. This minhag is brought in seforim and has been performed by many tzaddikim for many years. Various reasons are given for this minhag.
However, there is one minhag I cannot understand and have not been able to find a reliable source.
Many schools around the country celebrate Lag Ba’omer. This is quite understandable. The seforim say it is a day of simcha. But how to we justify minimizing limudei kodesh in honor of Rav Shimon bar Yochai? How do schools take away precious time of tinokos shel bais rabbon learning the heilegeh Torah for a Lag Ba’omer trip? Is this serving as an aliyah to the heilegeh neshama of this holy Tanah?
I was thinking that maybe, to be melamed zechus, there is some explanation. Maybe since the talmidim of Rebbi Akiva died because they did not act properly to each other, we take the boys out to the park with their rabbeim, where the rabbeim teach the children how to act towards each other, even when competing in a sports game. Maybe.
But now this minhag has been developing new twist. There are yeshiva ketanas that have turned Lag Ba’omer into trip days. School turns into camp. They take off from limudei kodesh and take their boys to amusement parks or bowling and the like. L’iluinNishmas haTanah Rav Shimon bar Yochai! Entire schools being mevatel Torah on such a grand scale in honor of this special day! Is this truly in the spirit of Lag Ba’omer? It’s hard do believe and it is difficult to understand. A kumzitz in a park, maybe. But has it gotten out of hand? What are we teaching the children?
And besides all this, we all know that as the weather gets warmer, the harder it becomes for children to concentrate on their learning. It becomes a challenge to motivate a boy to learn in the summer. But kicking it off with a trip so early in the season does not help things at all. It helps set the summer mode in and makes it even more difficult for our precious tinokos shel beis rabbon to continue their holy work.
Anybody have an explanation?
A Puzzled Parent
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