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Meron

Tuesday, 19 February, 2019 - 3:37 pm

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Our plans changed on Monday due to weather and the hike on Arbel was canceled. Instead we took a hike on Mount Meron, which is the 2nd highest mountain in Israel. You can just imagine the amazing views of the landscape that we saw. The hike was not strenuous, but we did need to focus since there was loads of mud. While hiking we met a group of tourists speaking Russian. We also met many teenage students from Acco. They were very friendly and kept welcoming us to Israel. It was really beautiful to pass them.

After our hike we continued to the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his son, Eliezar. Sima met a family she knows from Acton who were in Israel celebrating their son’s bar mitzvah. We entered the grave site and davened tehilim there.

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Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi) was a tana who lived under Roman rule. He was quite vocal that he did not respect the Romans at all. Due to his opinions he was forced to hide in a cave for a total of 13 years. The cave was in Peki’in and not Meron.

We all recognize this story from the Lag B’Omer holiday that commemorates the Rashbi’s yartzeit. Yoni told us that the Talmud Bavli has the story of the Rashbi written the way that we learn about it in school. In Talmud Yerushalmi though there is a slightly different version of how Rashbi came out of the cave. This is something we will research more closely when Lag B’Omer comes. 

Morah Kosofsky told us a story of a 3 year old boy who died in the grave site on Lag B’Omer during the rule of the British Mandate. The family had come to cut his hair as thousands of Jews do each year. The British soldiers quarantined the area immediately due to fear of epidemic. When the area was fenced off it separated families. The mother went into the cave and prayed. “Rashbi, I came here 3 years ago to pray for a child and now that child is gone.” She prayed for a miracle. In a few minutes a small faint voice was heard calling, “Ima”. It was a miracle as can only happen at the grave of a tzadik. The boy was alive.

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