Thursday, May 22, 2008

Spirit of th eLaw: Lag B'omer

7) “…According to both customs, all of the prohibitions of sefira are permitted on Lag B’Omer…”

According to the Chasam Sofer, zt”l, one reason why we celebrate on Lag B’Omer is day #33 of the sefira count transcends the thirty-two different major types of defilement listed by the Rambam in his introduction to Taharos. Apparently, each day represents working through a different av hatum’ah and from day thirty-three onward we are done with the spiritual roots of impurity. This is the concept of the verse: "גל עיני ואביטה נפלאות מתורתיך"—“Uncover my eyes and I will see the wonders of Your Torah.” The Hebrew word gal is the inverse of the number 33—lag. The word niflaos, wonders, can also be read nun–plaos, which means “fifty wonders.” This is why we are joyous and experience greater dveikus on Lag B’Omer.

Rav Nosson, zt”l, also explains another way in which lag (33) corresponds to gal. Lab B’Omer is the gal (monument) that was erected to separate Yaakov and Lavan. This monument represents the barrier that a person must erect to keep out illicit thoughts. It is only fit, then, that we should pray on Lag B’Omer for pure thoughts and our moral improvement!

The Sifsei Tzaddik, zt”l, cites the following gemara: “Rashbi said, ‘I can discharge the whole world from judgment.’” (Sukkah 45b) This is actually true for all generations. Each year on Lag B’Omer, when we make a resolution to change our ways, Rabbi Shimon effects an atonement of all our sins and all our prayers are answered.

One time, a Jew from Eretz Yisrael was in Ruzhin, and was spoke with the famous Rebbe Yisrael Ruzhiner, zt”l, about Lag B’Omer in Meron.

The Rebbe asked, “So what do you see in Meron?”

The chossid answered, “Inside the cave it is Yom Kippur, and outside it is Simchas Torah!”

He meant that the heartfelt prayer near the grave itself has the sincerity and intensity of the teshuvah of Yom Kippur, and the enthusiastic and lebedike dancing outside has the joyous fervor of Simchas Torah.

The Rebbe took great pleasure from the man’s answer and said, “If so, one sees good!”

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