The fire of Lag Ba’Omer was severely diminished when 45 neshamos were extinguished in the tragic event in Meron. While we will continue to mark Lag Ba’Omer as the yahrzeit of Rav Shimon Bar Yochai, hundreds of parents, children and spouses will now also mark it as the yahrzeit of their loved ones who died this day.
When Rebbe Akiva lost 24,000 students, he didn’t become hopeless, he didn’t give up or give in. When the last funeral concluded, when the last shiva was observed, on Lag Ba’Omer he found 5 new students and started again.
Says the Chida, Lag Ba’Omer is the celebration of never becoming hopeless or despondent. It is a day of tenacity, resilience and a commitment to carry on and to continue our magnificent heritage and our sacred mission in this world.
Just when the bonfires will burn out and Lag Ba’Omer will come to an end, it will be time to light the Shabbos candles. The message is clear. Keep the fire burning. Keep the passion, energy, enthusiasm going. Live the legacy of Rebbe Akiva, Rav Shimon Bar Yochai and the forty four individuals who cannot any longer.
As you light the candles tonight, daven for yourself and your family, but also for all those who will spend this Shabbos without their loved ones.
With wishes for a peaceful and comforting Shabbos,
Rabbi Efrem Goldberg