May 2, 2018

going back to tradition


I am one of those quiet grinches that don't like certain holidays but dont complain, or not too loudly at least, because it is pointless. I suffer through it quietly and am happy when it is over. Lag b'omer is one of those days. I was always happy with the form of celebrations from back in the USA - when we would not say tachanun and the school would go to the park and shoot makeshift bows and arrows, and then play some baseball. They would also pass out pieces of carob for us t eat because Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai ate it in the cave, which were vile, and we generally ended up throwing them at each other. Those were the days.

I don't like the bonfires and find them unnecessary and just bothersome. I also find that most people dont even know what to do with them. They just light them and then stand around eating popsicles and roasting marshmallows near them, and a few people might shuffle in a circle for a few minutes trying to sing a Lag b'Omer song. There are some big ones with long bouts of singing and dancing with music, and while I don't get why that has anything to do with Lag b'Omer at least it is a real party, unlike the many bonfires made by individuals, families, classes, youth groups, and shuls. That being said, I do go and take my kids every year to a bonfire (for a short amount of time), because while I might be a grinch, I dont want them feeling like they missed out on what everyone else is doing with some sort of local custom.

So, I cannot quite say I am sad that most cities around Israel are banning bonfires outright or at least minimizing the size of the bonfire and restricting the size and locations. Instead people will have to go to a more central bonfire or have smaller, safer, bonfires. This is because of the extreme heat wave happening right now in Israel with high temperatures and strong winds.

I am happy we will return this year to the traditional way of celebrating the holiday by not saying tachanun.

but for those of you that miss it... here you go



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