Meron, Israel – Refrain from Harming Environment, Chief Rabbis Tell Lag Ba’omer Revelers

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    Meron, Israel – Lag Ba’omer bonfire fans should be careful not to cause monetary or environmental damage in their enthusiasm to celebrate, cautioned the two Israeli chief rabbis in an announcement.

    “When God created Adam he took him and showed him all the trees in Gan Eden,” quoted rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger from ancient homiletic literature (Kohelet Raba). “God said to him, ‘Look at all my creations, how magnificent they are. All that I have created is for you. Be sure not to destroy my world, because if you do there is no one who can repair it.”

    On Thursday night, Jews across the world will celebrate Lag Ba’omer. The day is the anniversary of the death of Torah sage Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yohai, and according to Jewish custom, large bonfires are lit in memory of Bar-Yohai, who, according to the Zohar, was bathed in intense light the day he died.

    The festive day is usually celebrated with outings, bonfires, weddings and visits to Bar-Yohai’s burial site in Meron (near Safed), where more than 100,000 people are expected.
    However, preparations for Lag Ba’omer, such as the gathering of wood and other combustibles, often involve the stealing of private property by overly enthusiastic children. In addition, the large amount of smoke emitted by the fires is detrimental to the environment.

    In addition, just before and during Lag Ba’omer, Magen David Adom receives double the regular number of calls from children and teenagers who have been accidentally burned or hurt preparing bonfires.

    The chief rabbis urged the Jews of Israel to be careful with their bonfires to prevent unnecessary damage. They also called for the public to be scrupulous in protecting private property.


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