Lag B'Omer celebration before COVID
Lag B'Omer celebration before COVID Hillel Tenenbaum

The memorial celebration for the Talmudic sage Rabbi Yehuda Bar Elai is expected to take place next week will be the first such celebration in more than a year to be held with no public health restrictions. Staff at the shrine to R. Yehuda Bar-Ilai’s memory are making significant preparations for the thousands of visitors expected to take part.

In addition to the traditional dancing, the lighting of bonfires with Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, and a festive gathering with Rabbi Chaim Idles and Rabbi Eyal Jakubowicz, broadcasts will be held this year in various languages: English, French, and Portuguese. Eden Harel will host a special, separate event for women.

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, rabbi of Tzfat, commented: "Rabbi Akiva and his disciples were the seed from which the people of Israel grew after the destruction. How could we possibly see the memorials of Rabbi Yehuda Bar Elai and Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai pass without thousands upon thousands of celebrants?”

The organizers of the event said: "This year has been difficult, but we learned from it. It is possible to connect people to the light of the Tzaddik (sage) even from a distance. The rejoicing this year will be multiplied, with thousands present in person and tens of thousands more through live broadcasts all over the world in a variety of languages. "

The organizers have opened a special digital center that allows names to be sent for prayer via WhatsApp. The names will be delivered directly to the shrine. "Thousands of Jews are still stuck under lockdown around the world, and they too deserve a prayer at the shrine of the Tzaddik. We will be there for them."

Names for prayer can be submitted at https://harav.info/prayer