Inside Israel 5:16 AM 3/7/2014
Middle East 6:12 AM 3/7/2014
Middle East 3:13 AM 3/7/2014
Life Lessons with Judy Simon
Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.
Hundreds of thousands of Jews flocked to tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in Meron last night to celebrate Lag B’Omer by paying tribute to the author of the Zohar on his Yahrtzeit. Hundreds of thousands more, men, women, teenagers and children, religious and non-religious alike, sang songs about Rabbi Shimon, danced, and learned Torah all night around bonfires all over the country.
Rabbi Shimon lived during the Roman occupation of Israel. The Talmud describes the event that forced him to flee from the Romans and hide out in a cave with his son for 12 years, during which time the secrets of Torah were revealed to him by celestial visitors - Eliahu HaNavi and Moshe Rabainu. In a discussion about the Roman occupiers, he refused to praise their doings, saying, “All that they have done here, they have done for themselves. They built marketplaces to set their harlots in them; they built bathhouses to sport in them; they built bridges to collect tolls.” When the Romans were informed of his remarks, they issued a death sentence on him, which led to his fleeing (Shabbat 33, the gematria of Lag).
We can’t say coincidently, because we understand that there is no coincidence. But isn’t it interesting that the head of Rome today is visiting in Israel at this very time when the nation is celebrated our great hero, Rabbi Shimon? Today, just as in the time of Rabbi Shimon, everything that the goyim do for Israel they do for themselves, out of their own self-interest. There gestures of peace come to steal our land; their financial and military aid come to fortify Israel in order to protect their own grip on the Middle East; their bear hugs set the stage for the knife in our back; their missions of love come to tear us away from our heritage and from being the true chosen nation of G-d.
I had the privilege of celebrating Lag B’Omer with the revered Tzaddik, Rabbi Eliahu Leon Levi and students. May we all merit to cling to our holy Torah, increase our learning and prayers, and thus erect an impenetrable shield to protect us from all of the deceivers, whether from the Vatican or Washington D.C. whose smiles, Rabbi Shimon taught us, are the smiles of wolves.