Tragedy struck this year's Lag B'Omer observances in Meron, Israel. Each year hundreds of thousands of Chassids and others flock to Rabbi Bar Yochai's tomb on Mount Meron in his honor and in observance of Lag B'Omer. Meron is a small area next to teh town of Tzfat (AKA Safed) in the Upper Galilee region of northern Israel, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) northeast of the city of Haifa. Bar Yochai's book "The Zohar" is the foundation of Jewish mysticism. We discussed this amazing sage and his connection with Lag B'Omer on our Thursday broadcast.
The Israeli government is reporting that an estimated 100,000 worshipers attended this years event, down from a high of 400,000 in previous years. It appears that as part of the crowd was making its way through a tight corridor something blocked the passage and the people panicked, as people are apt to do in very cramped spaces. 45 men, including several children, were crushed and 150 others required medical attention for sustained injuries. The highway into the area was jammed with pilgrims, the telephone lines were overwhelmed as people tried to confirm the saftely of attending loved ones. As is said, when sorrow comes to one Jew the entire nation mourns. Today we are all mourning the aftermath of this terrible tragedy.
We have yet to discover any cause of the incident, beyond overcrowding. What happened of course is under investigation and the authorities are trying to come up with a plan to keep such a thing from ever taking place again. There is no RELEASED evidence at this time of any terrorist involvement eetc. It appears to have been a case of too many people packed into to small of an area. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims, their families and friends, and to the entire Jewish family. Refuah Shleima.
Each year hundreds of thousands head to Tzfat for the Lag B'Omer celebrations in honor of the great mystic Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Our beloved Rebbe Nachman of Breslov tells of his greatness in the opening to his magnum opus, Likutey Moharan. Iz you have a copy of this sefer we turn to the conclusion of the introduction. In the three volume edition by Saba Odaser that we use at Beit Emunah this is found in volume one page 22.
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