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The Day Of R Shimon

Written by Y Alt, 21/5/2019

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The Day Of R Shimon

On Lag Baomer, we celebrate the Yartzheit of R Shimon Bar Yochai who was the continuum of Torah after the students of R Akiva died.[1] In fact, the 33rd word in the Torah is and Chazal say refers to Torah.[2] R Avraham Simcha Horowitz points out that it is on the 33rd page of Mesachta Shabbos that we are told of the story of R Shimon Bar Yochai in the cave. Another hint is in Parshas Emor which coincides with Lag Baomer. The opening Rashi in Emor states and is rooted in , the Sefer that is attributed to R Shimon Bar Yochai.


It is written ; open my eyes and Ill see the wonders of the Torah.[3] consists of the same letters as , referring to Lag Baomer as this is when the hidden wonders of the Torah- Zohar- were revealed.[4] The Pasuk[5] states ... ... ; he brought Shimon out to them. Another meaning is that Hashem revealed the hidden secrets of the Torah through R Shimon Bar Yochai.[6]


The Sefiros are in the diagram of the human body as the right arm is Chessed, the left arm is Din and so on.[7] With this, we can appreciate -; I see Hashem from my flesh.[8] The word rearranged spells (an acronym for ' ). So, from my flesh (which is also the letters of ), I see Hashem. The Beis Aharon remarks that are the first letters for ' .


The Zohar tells us the 49 words in Parshas Metzora in 15:13-15 (which deal with the purification process of one who is impure) correspond to the 49 days of Sefira. Just as one counts the days of , similarly with leaving the of Mitzrayim we count Sefira. The Gra as well as R Gershon Henoch Ridziner point out that the 33rd word there is . This alludes to the day of Lag Baomer. One who is in Meiron on Lag Baomer sees what a Moed it really is.[9]


One who travels to Meiron on Lag Baomer sees the wide spectrum of Jewry. This is because R Shimon Bar Yochai lifts up even the lowest of Jews. The Gemara[10] tells us he purified the city of Tevarya and as we sing .[11] We are taught that another name for Tevarya is and it is called so because even the ; empty ones, sinners who live there are full of Mitzvos like a pomegranate.[12] So we see that R Shimon lifts up even the lowest among us. We should all merit to be lifted up this Lag Baomer.

R Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R Mordechai Friedlander Ztzl for close to five years. He received Semicha from R Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. R Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance. 

[1] This is just as R Shimon Bar Yochai was the continuum of Torah as is indicated in the end letters of ; it shall not be forgotten from the mouth of its offspring, which spell (Devarim 31:21, see Shabbos 138b). This was like his Rebbe, R Akiva who continued to give over Torah although his 24,000 students died. Parenthetically, the Meiri (Yevamos 62b) says that we have a tradition that on Lag Baomer the students of R Akiva stopped dying.

[2] Avos 6:3. Lag Baomer comes out on .   has a Gematria of 32.

[3] Tehillim 119:18

[4] See Bnei Yissoschar, Iyar, 3:7. One reason we light fires on Lag Baomer is because Zohar means light and this is what he brought to the world (see Aruch Hashulchan 493:7). Parenthetically, is said over secretly and as it says ; profound and hidden that should not be made known (in Askinu Seudasa on Shabbos Day). This is in accordance with ; fortunate are the people who learn from you (in the song Bar Yochai), which we sing about R Shimon, as not everyone can learn that type of Torah.

[5] Breishis 43:23, Mayana Shel Torah

[6] It comes as no surprise that the first letters of ; a holy angel came down from heaven (Daniel 4:10), spell , alluding to R Shimon.

[7] Tikunei Zohar, Pasach Eliyahu

[8] Iyov 19:26

[9] The Riziner once asked how Meiron looks on Lag Baomer to which he was told like Yom Kippur and Simchas Torah. Inside it is similar to Yom Kippur and the outside to Simchas Torah.

[10] Shabbos 34a

[11] In the song . See Succa 45b. R Akiva said ... (Yoma 85b) and R Shimon, who is his student, is the one who purifies Tevarya.

[12] Megila 6a. See Emunas Itecha, Acharei Mos, s.v. " ,".

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