Lag Ba'omer festivities draw tens of thousands to Mt. Meron..
(photo credit: MOSHE MIZRACHI AND AVRAHAM ZEMACH/OR HARASHBI SPOKESPERSON)
Tens of thousands of mainly hasidic revelers gathered on Mount Meron in northern Israel to celebrate the holiday of Lag Ba’omer on Wednesday night.
The holiday, which began on Wednesday night and ends at sundown Thursday, commemorates Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a disciple of Rabbi Akiva who wrote the Zohar.
Bonfires were lit throughout the country Wednesday night in accordance to with the custom conducted in memory of Bar-Yohai, who, according to the Zohar, was bathed in intense light the day he died.
Among the events said to have taken place on Lag Ba’omer, a break during the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot, is the revelation of the Zohar, a book revealing the secrets of Kabbalah.
On Lag Ba’omer, it is tradition to visit the Mount Meron grave of the Torah sage.
Other traditions include lighting bonfires — in part to signify the light of the spiritual teachings and remember the Bar Kochba revolt that overthrew Roman rule around 132 B.C.E. — and giving three-year-old boys their first haircuts.
The day also marks the halting of a plague that raged among the disciples of another Torah sage, Rabbi Akiva, who were said to have acted disrespectfully toward one another.
Magen David Adom, United Hatzalah, the Israel Police and Fire and Rescue Services will be on high alert to prevent disruptions of public safety and treat the injured who need care from paramedics and medics.
Judy Siegel-Itzkovich contributed to this report.