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Experience This!

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 22/5/2019

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                                           Experience This!

It has been said regarding the Simcha of Lag Ba’omer that מי שלא ראה שמחה זו לא ראה שמחה מימיו; one who hasn’t seen this Simcha, has never seen Simcha in his life.[1] The Bnei Yissoschar[2] writes that …the Simcha on this day by the Tziun of R’ Shimon Bar Yochai is שלא הטבע; above nature. We are left to wonder why the first 32 days of Sefira we mourn for those who died and on the 33rd day- Lag Ba’omer- we celebrate? The question is also asked concerning other Tzadikim that died where we don’t celebrate their Yartzheit like R’ Shimon Bar Yochai? 

   

During the first 32 days of Sefira, when the students of R’ Akiva died, their Torah was also lost, as we don’t have any of it. Consequently, we mourn. However, when R’ Shimon Bar Yochai passed away, secrets of Torah were[3] revealed.[4] What does it say about his Torah? דנהיר כל עלמא באורייתא-[5] R’ Shimon lit up the world with his Torah. That is a cause for celebration.[6]

R’ Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l 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] Taamai Haminhagim, pg 275. There is a custom to learn Mesachta Shavuos- which has 49 pages- during Sefira- which has 49 days. The Chassam Sofer tells us a fascinating hint: since a Mesachta starts on דף ב, (the second page), the 34th page is what is learned on the 33rd day- Lag Ba’omer. What does it say there? R’ Shimon says… מחכו עלה במערבא. This alludes to the celebration that takes place in Eretz Yisrael (במערבא) on Lag Ba’omer (Taamai Haminhagim, pgs 271-2). 

[2] Iyar 3:3

[3] Regarding other Tzadikim that died where we don’t celebrate their Yartzheit like R’ Shimon Bar Yochai, we didn’t lose their Torah with their death but we also didn’t gain, like we did with R’ Shimon Bar Yochai.

[4] This is consistent with the words of R’ Shimon elsewhereח"ו שתשתכח תורה מישראל- G-d forbid that the Torah be forgotten from us (Shabbos 138b).

[5] Zohar 1, 156a

[6] See the Munkatcher Rebbe in his Sefer Shaar Yissaschar, Maamarei Chodesh Iyar, Maamar Gal Einai, Os 23.


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