lag baomer 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar announced on Thursday that the traditional
Sephardi bonfire in Meron marking Lag Ba’omer would be lit next Sunday evening,
May 22, rather than on the preceding Saturday night, to prevent desecration of
the Jewish day of rest.
Amar’s decision came after he and Chief Ashkenazi
Rabbi Yona Metzger issued a letter on Wednesday calling on people to put off
their festive bonfires to Sunday, for fear that preparations for the event would
include desecrations of Shabbat, primarily by nonobservant Jews. Senior Sephardi
adjudicator Rabbi Ovadia Yosef also signed the document.
Keep safe on Lag Ba'Omer!
Though it is not
a religious command, it has become a custom to light fires on that day marking
the end of the plague that killed thousands of Rabbi Akiva’s students and the
death of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai.
In past years, when Lag Ba’omer has
begun on Saturday night, as it did last year, the chief rabbis have done their
utmost to ensure that police securing the main events on Mount Meron near Safed
would make their preparations only after the end of Shabbat.
the publication of the chief rabbis’ letter on Wednesday, the Admor of the
hassidic Boyan group, which every year lights the first fire on Mount Meron,
declared that he would postpone the commencement of the fire to 12:30 a.m., the
Kikar Hashabat website reported.
Police expect over half a million
believers to arrive at the event.