Israel Forever

For the week ending 19 May 2012 / 26 Iyyar 5772

The Bar Yochai Legacy

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Lag B'Omer is a very special day in Eretz Yisrael and its most prominent feature is the massive celebration of the Yahrzeit of Rav Shimon bar Yochai. The central bonfire at the site of this Sage's tomb in Meron and the smaller celebrations throughout the country are a tribute to the legacy of this holy saint which has a special significance these days in the modern State of Israel.

Bar Yochai personified the ideal of total immersion in Torah study and unhesitatingly declared that the commitment of his son and himself to this ideal was what sustained the world. In today's great national debate over the deferment granted to yeshiva students from military and national service, there is continuous talk about "sharing the burden of defending the nation." As the nation identifies with the "Bar Yochai Legacy" on Lag B'Omer it is hoped that there will finally be recognition that it is the undisturbed study of Torah in Israel which enables its fighting soldiers to successfully defend Israel forever.

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