Video: Lag Ba’omer in Meron

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meron[Video below.] Lag Ba’omer festivities in Meron began tonight. This year, upwards of half-a-million people were expected to come to Meron to celebrate. The commemoration of Rav Shimon bar Yochai’s yahrtzeit at his kever brings together a combination of time and place of intense holiness. To those blessed to be there on Lag Ba’omer, no other experience is its equal. Little boys who reach the age of three between Pesach and  Lag Ba’omer are traditionally given their first haircut on Lag Ba’omer.

More than 430 years ago, a Rashbi hachnassas orchim group was formed to prepare for the special day’s massive crowds. In recent years, hachnassas orchim groups in Meron, at great expense, continuously overhaul and expand their food preparation kitchens.

Last Lag Ba’omer, as in years past, the hachnassas orchim groups distributed hundreds of thousands sandwiches and hot and cold drinks at the site. In addition to Lag Ba’omer, they provide hachnassas orchim throughout the year.

The Ta’amei HaMinhagim notes that many  people that had difficulty conceiving, finding a shidduch, recuperating from an illness or attaining a livelihood were successful only after they donated “chai rotel” (eighteen bottles, roughly 18 gallons) of wine for the  Lag Ba’omer celebrations at Meron. Rav Ovadia Mibartenura notes the success of this tradition.

Lately, the old tradition of donating 18 rotels of drinks – wine, grape juice, fruit juice, cold soda, or even cold water at the gravesite on the yahrzeit has come back strongly in practice. In olden times, childless couples would donate and themselves serve the drinks to visitors and needy supplicants praying at the ohel.

More than a million visits are made to the ohel regularly, with considerably more than half-a -million on Lag Ba’omer alone. In recent history, this may very well be the single largest annual gathering of observant Yidden anywhere.

Flights left from all over the world to Israel before Shabbos, in advance of Lag Ba’omer. Bus companies in Israel provide single- and- multiple-day bus tours to Meron, Tzefas, Tiveriah, Amukah, the Golan Heights, Rosh HaNikrah, Pekien, as well as Chevron, Kever Rochel, Masada, Dead Sea, and Ein Gedi. On Lag Ba’omer, there is no such thing as an idle bus in all of Israel.

Lighting The Bonfire

Tradition has given the Rebbes of Boyan the privilege of lighting the major bonfire on the rooftop of the Ohel structure. This usually takes place at 2:00 a.m. on Lag Ba’omer morning and is considered the highlight of the celebration. This year, the opportunity of providing oil for the Boyaner Rebbe’s lighting was offered by Gomlei Chesed Chassidei Boyan. For $138, the numerical value of hatzlachah, success, one becomes a partner participant in the important event.

Security Concerns

This year, as in the immediate years past, security concerns impose some impediments. Much attention is being focused on the relatively narrow road that leads up the hill to the ohel. Traffic on it is at a complete standstill all day. The otherwise five-minute drive literally takes hours, if not all day. Trudging up the mountain road by foot becomes very sensible on Lag Ba’omer. The most important visiting dignitaries, such as the chief rabbis, will be brought by helicopter.

Chai Rotel

Lag Ba’omer in Meron is invariably a hot day, with temperatures, at mid-day, in the 80s or 90s, compounded by the heat of the immense crowd dancing and singing. Though many bring drinks with them, personal supplies are quickly depleted. In spite of Meron being a highly visited location, it has almost no vending machines. That creates great appreciation for the sponsorship and distribution of drinks. Organizations, in addition to offering 18 rotels of wine sponsorships, also offers sponsorship of 18 rotels of cold water and 18 rotels of cold soda.


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{ Israel News Bureau}


  1. “Tradition has given the Rebbes of Boyan the privilege of lighting the major bonfire on the rooftop of the Ohel structure. This usually takes place at 2:00 a.m. on Lag Ba’omer morning and is considered the highlight of the celebration.”

    this is not true. Boyan usually lights by the zman the first night and karlin at 12. this year, because it was motzei shabbos, boyan lit at 12 and karlin at 2 am.


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