Rabbi David Yosef
Rabbi David YosefPhoto: Yaakov Lederman/Flash90

Rabbi David Yosef, a member of the Council of Torah Sages, has urged Israelis to avoid traveling to Meron during the upcoming Lag Ba'omer holiday, Kikar Hashabbat reported.

During a weekly Torah class in Jerusalem, Rabbi Yosef said, "I really request the entire public not travel to Meron this year. I repeat and reiterate: I ask that each and every person in Israel, please, this year, do not travel to Meron."

"You know very well that my father and teacher, of blessed memory, never believed in this idea of traveling to Meron in our generation. The trip to Meron has a very holy foundation, there is no doubt....but it's a whole generation already that we know that tens of thousands travel there.

"And let's not forget what happens on the way - there are eight-hour delays before you even arrive, you kill an entire day, is that what Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi) wants? Such great waste of time [which could be used] for studying Torah? Rashbi wouldn't prefer that we dedicate our Torah learning on this day, to his soul having an ascension? ... Why do we even need this whole trip?"

Lag Ba'omer is the anniversary of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai's passing, and his gravesite is on Mount Meron.

Rabbi Yosef added: "This year they are trying to do all sorts of things so that what happened in previous years won't happen, so that there won't be a horrible tragedy like what happened last year, G-d forbid. They have found all sorts of 'solutions,' you know that this won't solve the problems.... There will be problems. It's not simple at all, people are going to need to stand in the sun, in the heat, in cramped quarters."

"It could be that they are doing what needs to be done, but we know that the government has no help from Heaven - they don't have it. So I am very very afraid for the results. With G-d's help there won't be a tragedy, we pray that there won't be a tragedy. But even if there isn't a tragedy, is it worth it?"

Rabbi Yosef concluded, "My father told me a few times that he never spent Lag Ba'omer in Meron. I also, thank G-d, never have - it's like a tradition from my father. To go a few times a year, to visit and pray - why not? But specifically on this day? It's better not to."