It was only as Lag B’Omer drew to a close that I thought to write about it.
I spent the day trying to explore the physical side of the day. The music, the celebrations- a welcome break from the previous days of mourning. Aside from researching some basic aspects of the festival, I felt that I paid relatively little attention to it’s extreme spiritual importance.
And it was as I pondered this I thought about why Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai told us to celebrate his yahrzeis.
He spent his entire life trying to enfuse Holiness into everyday life. Through his authorship of the Zohar, through his teaching and learning; each day was a mission to bring heaven down to earth, to shun corporeality and spread kedushah. And on the day of his death, he revealed the deepest secrets of the Torah; the Zohar.
It was only at the end of his life that he reached his climax.
On the day Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai died, he was surrounded by the fire of Torah; by light and flames. He was bathed in Holiness as he divulged the Zohar in what was the final miracle of a life filled with miracles. Just as my understanding of Lag B’Omer really only came about at the very end, so was Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s mission only realised on his last day. And thus, it is to be known as a day of joy…