Lag Ba'Omer postponed out of concern for Sabbath

Chief rabbis, Ovadia Yosef rule that bonfires will be lit on Sunday, not Saturday, to avoid desecration of the Sabbath.

May 13, 2011 02:57
1 minute read.
Children celebrate Lag Baomer on Saturday.

lag baomer 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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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.

Following 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.

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