Rabbi David Lau urges: Come to Meron early, leave for home early

Rabbi David Lau, Chief Rabbi of Israel, calls on public to leave Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai's gravesite early on Friday. 'Avoid Shabbat desecration.'

Hezki Baruch ,

Rabbi David Lau
Rabbi David Lau
Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90

Rabbi David Lau, Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel, has called on the public to arrive in Meron and leave for home earlier than usual, to avoid Shabbat (Sabbath) desecration.

"One of the holiest days of the year is the anniversary of the passing of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai," Rabbi Lau said. He added that "for hundreds of years, many people journey on this day to visit Rabbi Shimon's gravesite. The visit to his graveside includes lighting a bonfire in his honor, and many reasons for this have been given."

"In the Zohar it is written that when Rabbi Shimon sat and learned Torah, there was a fire burning around him," Rabbi Lau added.

"This year, Lag Ba'omer falls on Friday. Many people travel to visit the gravesite of Rashbi (acronym for Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai - ed.) in Meron. In order to avoid causing Shabbat desecration and to allow the security forces charged with maintaining public order to complete their special preparations, which include a large number of police officers and emergency responders, I call on the public visiting Meron on the anniversary of Rashbi's passing: Please arrive at his grave earlier, and be sure to return home as early as possible. The merit of observing Shabbat will stand by you and your household forever."

He added: "In light of the painful rumors about our Jewish brothers around the world, who need Heavenly help, it is appropriate for us - who live in the Holy Land - to pray that those who are sick become healthy, and those who are healthy not become sick."