Various Groups to Light Lag Ba’omer Fires On Regular Night


lag-baomerWhile some have issued calls to postpone the lighting of the traditional Lag Ba’omer bonfires in Eretz Yisroel to Sunday to prevent chillul Shabbos, various groups of Chassidim have said that they will proceed with the traditional time of lighting on the night of Lag Ba’omer, which this year falls out on Motzoei Shabbos.

Among those who will light their bonfire on Motzoei Shabbos is the chassidus of Toldos Aharon, whose Lag Ba’omer festivities at the Toldos Aharon Bais Medrash in Yerushalayim draw large crowds each year.

As reported by yesterday, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, backed by the p’sak of the head of the Moetzet Chachmei Hatorah of Shas, Chacham Ovadia Yosef, called to postpone the lighting of the traditional Lag Ba’omer bonfires to Sunday to prevent chillul Shabbos.

Rav Yona Metzger and Rav Shlomo Amar wrote 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.

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.

This concern is less prevalent with groups like Toldos Aharon and others, but is more applicable in Meron and other locales where the crowds are more diverse and chillul Shabbos is more likely. Rav Yosef, in issuing his ruling, remarked 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 this case, said Rav Yosef, it is not safeik, but a certainty that there will be chillul Shabbos. And, he said, the lighting of a bonfire on Lag Ba’omer is not a Mideoraisah and not even a Miderabonon.

In light of the concern, the chassidus of Boyan, which has traditionally presided over the largest fire in Meron, will light their fire at night but will not initiate the lighting until 12:30 a.m., many hours after Shabbos is over, thus hopefully preventing any form of chillul Shabbos. That fire, like every year, will be lit by the Boyaner Rebbe. Once again, tens of thousands are expected to make the pilgrimage to Meron, up north, for the special festivities.

{Yair Israel}


  1. Even lighting at 12:30 will, unfortunately, not prevent the police from having to start the preparations during Shabbos.

  2. The article makes a good distinction. The worry of chilul shabbos is not in the frum keillos. It is in the other places, and in Meron, where there are so many people, including some who arent even religious who come tot he fires.

  3. Dave

    I am not so sure about the distinction I may be wrong But even in the frum Kehilos I assume there is some sort of fire safty and or police presence to protect the public and they very likely will be michalel shabbos in order to be prepared on time for mottzei shabbos.

  4. Dave, another thing, kol Israel arevim ze laze. Frum kehillot should have the non-religious in mind when they schedule their lag baomer party. Ashrecha Rav Obadia Yossef, may you enlighten am Israel with the beauty of Torah ad mea veessrim.

  5. I don’t get what does this have to do with Toldos Aron, sounds as if they’re hadlaka in miron has connection? If anything the heading should’ve been about Boyan.

  6. U think that if Toldos Aharon had the smallest hava amina that their hadlakah would cause chilul shabbes, that they would go ahead & light it? Halevai my Shabbes should be with their kedusha…

  7. Can anyone explain why they cant make it at 3 or 4am so that there shouldnt be chillul shabbos? Am I missing something?

  8. Ari:

    You assume so incorrectly.

    Especially in Toldos Aharon and Toldos Avraham Yitzchak, the bonfire in Jerusalem takes place with no police or fire presence.

    On the other hand, the bonfire at these places is more of a contained fire, consisting of cotton and olive oil in a barrel like contraption, and not a wooden monstrosity that could easily get out of control. And these places need police to help them control the crowds no more than they do by the Tishen or Simchas Beis HaShoeiva which attract more or less the same crowd…

  9. Oh, and I forgot -In Belz there also is no police or fire department presence -even though it’s a huge crowd and the bonfire is one of those huge wooden monstrosities.

    Only in Meron -and there by the Toldos Aharon and Toldos Avraham Yitzchak bonfires that always are only on Lag Ba’Omer day just about the shekiah time -do they have fire personnel and police on the scene.