Rabbi Gershon Edelstein
Rabbi Gershon Edelstein Photo by Yaakov Naumi/Flash90

Ahead of the upcoming Lag Ba'omer holiday, Rabbi Gershon Edelstein explained why the Lithuanian-haredi public does not customarily visit Meron on Lag Ba'omer.

Rabbi Edelstein is a leading Lithuanian-haredi rabbi who serves as one of the heads of the Ponovezh yeshiva in Bnei Brak.

"Soon it will be Lag Ba'omer, soon, on Friday, and there are those who travel to Meron," he said. "There are those who travel to Meron - this is not our custom."

"We have learned from the Brisker Rav, from the Chazon Ish, from the Ponevezher Rav - and they did not travel [to Meron]," he explained, listing former leaders of the Lithuanian-haredi community.

"They did not travel, and therefore we do not travel. We sit and learn: Learning Torah is equal to everything else. We do not travel: Torah learning is equal to all else.

"It is written about the fruits [of Torah learning] in this world. It is written, 'These are the things for which a person enjoys the fruits in this world: Honoring your father and mother, and doing loving kindness,' and also many other things, 'and Torah learning is equal to everything else.' Their fruits [we reap] in this world, and there is an everlasting benefit in the next world."

"So, should we miss out on this benefit? The benefit of their fruits in this world, and an everlasting benefit in the next world - is it worth missing out on that?"

Lag Ba'omer is the anniversary of the passing of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who is buried in the northern city of Meron. Also known by the acronym Rashbi, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai is the author of the Zohar and the father of kabbalah. The day of his passing is traditionally a day of celebration, as he requested it be, and many have the tradition to visit his gravesite on that day.