“They reported that a half million people arrived in Meron on Lag B’Omer [Saturday night]. Believe me this is not a mitzvat assei [positive religious commandment] and I have gone through Chumash [the Five Books of Moses] hundreds of times. I do not know where this originates, this [purported] mitzvah assei [to go to Meron on Lag Ba'Omer]…"
Above: Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, left, and his son Rabbi David Yosef, right
Stay Away From Bar Yochai’s Grave On Lag Ba’Omer, Senior Sefardi Haredi Rabbi Says In Disgust
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Rabbi David Yosef, a son of the late Sefardi haredi supreme rabbinic leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and a member of the Sefardi haredi Shas Party’s Council of Torah Sages, issued a harsh statement against haredim for their insistence on beginning Lag Ba’Omer festivities in Meron on just as Shabbat ended Saturday night, rather than delaying the start of the annual festivities by several hours to allow police and bus company personnel to keep Shabbat and begin preparation to handle and transport the massive crowd after Shabbat ended, Yeshiva World reported.
Yosef called on married yeshiva students to boycott the celebrations at the purported grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in Meron because those celebrations are predicated on hundreds if not thousands of police and support personnel breaking Shabbat.
“…[P]olice had to begin preparations during Shabbat,” Yosef noted. “Can we say we [i.e., haredim who refused to delay the celebrations by several hours] are not responsible for this?”
Similar statements were made last week by leading Zionist Orthodox rabbis and by Israel’s Deputy Minister of Education Rabbi Shai Piron, but to no avail. Many police officers and bus drivers are Zionist Orthodox Jews.
“They reported that a half million people arrived in Meron on Lag B’Omer [Saturday night]. Believe me this is not a mitzvat assei [positive religious commandment] and I have gone through Chumash [the Five Books of Moses] hundreds of times. I do not know where this originates, this [purported] mitzvah assei [to go to Meron]…Hundreds of thousands including young married [haredi] kollel students? An entire day to travel to Meron and return to be at the grave [of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai] for five seconds – is this what Rabi Shimon Bar Yochai wants from us?” Yosef rhetorically asked. “I am aware that what I am saying to you is unpopular but I am not seeking popularity. I stand by my words which are truth,” Yosef added, noting that his father, the most influential Sefardi rabbi in generations, “never visited Meron on Lag Ba’Omer and he spoke to me about his pain regarding the many traveling to Meron and the waste of time associated with it.”
Yosef ruled that it is prohibited to ride the buses to Meron on Saturday night because doing so means the riders will benefit from the work of others who were forced to break Shabbat laws for them and noted that the lack of modesty in Meron at the celebrations along with the time taken away from Torah study are good reasons to stay away from the Meron celebrations, even when Lag Ba’Omer does not fall on a Saturday night and Sunday.
Lag Ba’Omer is primarily a hasidic and Sefardi celebration that only began in the late Middle Ages and that has a very dubious origin.
Nonetheless, it has become a totem of the hasidic movement and of the cults surrounding Sefardi haredi “kabbalists” – many of whom are charlatans who enrich themselves by exploiting sick and desperate people.
Yosef and his late father are not associated with those Sefardi haredi kabbalists personality cults.