Many thousands of Jews are gathering at Meron for the celebrations tonight and tomorrow of the Lag Ba'Omer festival at the tomb of the Talmudic sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who is otherwise known by the acronym of his name, Rashbi.

Rashbi is considered one of the fathers of Kabbala, Jewish mysticism, as well as the author of the Zohar, one of the foundational works of Kabbala. The Lag Ba'Omer festival is held on Rashbi's birthday, and commemorates the survival of a small number of the students of Rabbi Akiva, one of the greatest Jewish sages and rabbis in all of history, who ensured that the Torah would survive and continued to be taught to future generations following the crushing of the Bar Kochba Revolt in 135 CE by the Roman Empire. Rashbi was one of those students of Rabbi Akiva who survived to continue to teach Torah.

The Talmud tells the story of Rashbi, who criticized the Romans and as a restult, had to go into hiding. He and his son remained hidden in a cave for thirteen years learning Torah as well as writing the Zohar, nourished by a spring and the fruits of a carob tree, until someone came to the entrance of the cave and told them the danger was past.

The commemorations will begin at 8:30 pm Israel time and will continue for 24 hours at Meron.

Special prayer areas have been set up at Meron for men and women. Two routes have been set up for entrance to Rashbi's tomb, one faster and one slower, to allow for the maximum number of worshipers to visit the site safely.

Hundreds of families will bring their children who are turning three to Meron for their first haircuts.

During the day, a special event will be held for the families of the 45 people who lost their lives during the Meron Disaster of 2021, the worst civilian disaster in Israeli history.