Why Celebrate Lag B'Omer?
I have a question about Lag B'Omer. I've heard this is the day when all of Rabbi Akiva's students stopped dying. But why should we celebrate? This must be a sad day since there were no more students left. Am I missing something?
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
The Chidah (Rabbi Chaim Yosef Dovid Azulay, 18th century Morocco) asks your question. He explains that since Lag B'Omer was the day that Rabbi Akiva's students stopped dying, it was therefore also the day that Rabbi Akiva began teaching a new group of disciples. This distinguished new group included Rebbe Meir, Rebbe Yossi and Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai - and became the link to carry forth the Torah to all future generations. This is cause for celebration.
The Chidah adds another reason for celebrating on Lag B'Omer. It was years later - on this very same day of Lag B'Omer - that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai revealed the Kabbalistic teachings of "The Zohar."
Today, Lag B'Omer (literally the "33rd day of the Omer") is marked with great bonfires throughout Israel, and an estimated 400,000 Jews celebrate at the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in the northern town of Meiron.
For the full story, go to http://www.aish.com/h/o/33o/91684314.html