Wednesday, May 17, 2006


by Shifra Shomron

A Return to the Elements

by Shifra Shomron

Lag B'Omer 5766 / 16.5.06
Nitzan Caravilla Site
(19 years old)

The night was cold and I stared into the brilliant fire. Warmth spreads over me; fire, family, friends, food? this was the first holiday this year that hadn't been dampened by the dour drench of Disengagement.

Lag B'Omer is a special holiday; it brings us back to the elementary foundations of our life. Family and friends, we gather together on a cold night around a warm fire, and, between the chicken and the potatoes, we discuss freedom. We discuss Bar Kochva's glorious revolt; the splendid fact that famous Torah scholar Rabbi Akiva and his many students joined the fight, and the tragic failure of the revolution ? including the deaths of 24,000 students-warriors. And though the revolution ended with a Roman victory; Jews killed, Jews exiled, Temple still not rebuilt? Lag B'Omer is a joyous holiday. We stop grieving for the fallen, and instead find courage and joy in the life that they led and in the ideals they fought for ? leading a Torah life in a sovereign Jewish state.

Lag B'Omer is a joyous holiday because in the end they won, we won ? for Rome has vanished, yet the Jewish nation is very much alive. The Jewish nation is back in the Holy Land; blundering and sinning like only the Jewish nation can, Temple still not rebuilt, yet very much alive and with the sweet ability to bring the redemption!

My brothers and I play our recorders. The sweet wistful notes join the stars in heaven. We ignore the cars rushing on the street behind us, and the many lights flickering on the busy road before us. Instead we concentrate on the pleasant, welcome atmosphere we've created. We also concentrate on the golden glow which is steadily, persistently, warming our bones and our souls. They both need to be warmed.

Lag B'Omer. The holiday which marks the day on which 24,000 scholar-soldiers ceased to die. The holiday commemorating Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who preferred life in a cave while existing solely on carobs and water, than falsely praise Roman abominations in the Holy Land.

When we have such bright figures to show us the way, how can we fail to light a fire in the darkness?!

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