The holiness of Lag BaOmer
Transcribed and translated from previous recordings of
HaRav Eliezer Berland Shlit”a
On the yahrtzeit of Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai fire comes down from Heaven. 33 days after the Seder night, after Pesach, we merit a tremendous, awesome occurrence; the revelation of the Shechina (Divine Providence), fiery revelation. All of the mountains surrounding the gravesite of Rashbi are ablaze. When the Kohen Gadol would enter the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur, even the Angels and Seraphim would flee, they would get burnt from the fire [of holiness]. Likewise, in the case of Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai, who is the aspect of chesed I’la’ah (Supreme Chessed), the aspect of the Kohen Gadol of all the generations from who’s fire all the angels burn. No sooner would Rebbe Shimon open his mouth to speak words of Torah than he would become surrounded with fire. Everything around him would suddenly be set with fire (as is told in the Idra). If while he was alive everything around him was burning with fire, you can only imagine how fierce the fire around him has become since his passing, as it says, “Greater are the righteous after they pass away than they were in their lifetime.”
Lag BaOmer is literally Yom Kippur; it is a day when all of our sins are forgiven. It is truly like “Kol Nidrei”. Everything is forgiven. All the judgments become sweetened, the highest and most glorious chassadim are revealed on this day. On Lag BaOmer one can draw down all of the “mochin”, all of the healing and salvations for the entire year. On this day every illnesses can be healed; there is no type of healing that cannot be drawn down on this day. This day can heal every type of Cancer. All who are barren can merit having children, all who are single can merit finding their match. This is the day of hataras nedarim, [lit. nullification of vows], everything is mitigated and everything is forgiven, all of the sins the person has committed, the millions of aveiras that the person has done from the day he was born until this holy day. Even the sins from all previous generations are forgiven.
A person travels for three hours to Meron, gets pushed in the crowds suffering between the thousands upon thousands of people; through this his sins are all forgiven! All of his pgamei habris (flaws of the covenant), all the sins he did throughout his entire life are now forgiven. This is the meaning of what it says: “Chadi Rebbe Shimon”: Rebbe Shimon is delighted when he sees hundreds of thousands of people, all of Am Yisrael, traveling to his gravesite. Every year more and more people go. Truthfully, no one has any idea what’s going on here, no one can understand it – the meaning behind this trip to Meron. People don’t know why they are going, don’t know what they are celebrating on Lag BaOmer, however “even though he doesn’t see his mazal sees”. The whole country is celebrating and no one knows exactly why.
People must realize that the Tzaddik is the root of all souls, he is the “even shtiyah” (the foundation rock from which the world was created); he is the root of everyone, of every single soul. Every neshama is a tiny spark of the Tzaddik. The spark of Rebbe Shimon can be found within every Jew; the soul of Rashbi is found in every Jew. It is a neshama that includes all of Am Yisrael, surrounds the entire world, embraces all of the worlds and all of the sefiros. That is why everyone goes up to the gravesite of Rebbe Shimon, in order to be included within the neshama that includes all of Am Yisrael.
Traveling to Rashbi must be done with messirus nefesh (self-sacrifice). Rebbe Shimon calls to us: “Come to me, just travel for two-three hours and you’re already with me!” All of the abundance in the world, all the blessings in the world, prayer, Torah, holiness, everything a person needs, he can get it all, just come! Travel! You must first travel! The Tzaddik is chai v’kayam (alive and well). You are not traveling to see a human being! So travel with fear and awe! When you travel by car or by bus for two to three hours, make your journey with holy awe, with sefarim to learn from, with prayer and hisbodedus. Don’t act silly, joke around and talk nonsense. Travel leShem Shamayim (for the sake of Heaven) in order to be purified and become holy. Then Rebbe Shimon will be able to draw down for you endless salvations, endless holiness and purity. He can give you a new soul; nothing is limited for him. He has no limitations and can give you everything you need and everything you think. Whatever you want he’ll give you, just make sure you go with sincerity, with a true sense of awe and holiness.
The “Beis Aharon” says that the highest level of all of the verses in Psalms is “Tzamaa lecha nafshi, kamhah lecha besari” – my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You. This means that even the body, the flesh, turns into soul. Even the flesh ceases to feel materialism or earthly desires. It burns out of abundant love for Hashem. This level of “my flesh yearns for you” can be attained through Rebbe Shimon, through the fire of Rashbi, the fire that burns all around him day and night, for RAShBi is the letters of “Besari” (flesh). When a person comes to Rebbe Shimon with sincere intentions, dances whenever they are dancing, he merits that his whole body (flesh), and all of his worldly desires and connections burn away and he reaches the highest level of “My flesh yearns for You.”
Whoever merits on Lag BaOmer traveling with sincerity to Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochay, whoever weeps on Lag BaOmer (with repentance and joy), whoever dances with sincerity on Lag BaOmer – doesn’t just stand off to the side daydreaming, but rather dances wholeheartedly and believes that Rebbe Shimon is ‘chai v’kayam’ (alive and well)… He shouldn’t just travel because of peer pressure or just because others are going, but because he truly believes that Rebbe Shimon is alive. He should pray with great passion, dance with passion and not just stand about on the side while everyone else is dancing, as the Rambam says that whoever sees that everyone is dancing but he just stands on the side is a complete fool and apikorus (heretic), for he does not believe in the power of the Tzaddikim, he does not believe in the power of dancing. He doesn’t believe that the Tzaddikim can mitaber (enter and indwell) in him, for on his Yahrtzeit, Rebbe Shimon needs to come down even lower and enter the bodies of all those that come to him. Through this he nullifies all of the harsh decrees. So whoever goes to Rebbe Shimon with sincerity, with his head in the holy books, in Tehillim, in Gemaras, etc. keeping himself together and strengthening his heart, truly yearning for Rebbe Shimon – he will merit that Rebbe Shimon will plant himself inside of him and through that he will merit all of the salvations. And through this may we all merit the complete redemption, speedily in our days, amen.
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