Firefighter (stock image)
Firefighter (stock image) iStock

Rabbi David Stav, Founder and President of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization urged Israelis observing the upcoming Lag BaOmer, which begins Wednesday evening, to follow all safety precautions - even if that means dropping the traditional Lag BaOmer bonfire.

"The tradition of lighting bonfires on Lag BaOmer can be a fun custom that inspires interest and excitement from children and adults alike", says Rabbi Stav, "Originating from the history of Bar Kochva and his revolt, the light of the bonfires reflects a passionate “fire” within all of us".

"But I firmly believe", explains Rabbi Stav, "that the commandment to protect ourselves from harm supersedes any such fun tradition".

Following the weather forecasts that describe strong winds that could easily fan the flames of bonfires and potentially result in tragedy Rabbi Stav says that "even Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai would prefer that we act in a responsible and safe manner rather than risk someone being injured or mass destruction of property".

Israel's Education and Health Ministries have urged the public to adhere to limitations for bonfires on Wednesday and Thursday, due to weather conditions which have exacerbated the risk of bonfires spreading out of control.

Relating to the flash flood tragedy last week, Rabbi Stav concludes: "Last week, we were witness to a tragedy that resulted when the advice of authorities was not properly respected. This evening let us act in a responsible and safe manner which would be the ultimate way to respect the honor of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai".

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