Popular Charedi Website in Israel: ‘The Government Forgot One Crucial Ingredient in Meron’

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Police evacuate Jewish worshipers ahead of the Lag B'omer festival, at the Tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, in Meron, northern Israel on May 17, 2022. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** îéøåï ÷áø ùîòåï áø éåçàé ì"â áòåîø ôñèéáì îùèøä

ISRAEL (VINnews) — The popular and influential Charedi news outlet, B’Chadrei Charedim, published an editorial Friday, discussing the Meron debacle which took place on Lag B’Omer.

In a piece entitled “The Handwriting was on the Wall / How the Plans in Meron Collapsed’, the news outlet essentially said that the authorities did not connect with the true meaning of the Meron Festival.

The tone and messaging of the article seemed to place blame on the Israeli government for simply being out of touch with the Charedi community.

In addition, one major theme suggested that although the Meron commission held meetings and designed plans and made major structural changes, the one thing they could not replicate is the “heart and soul” that is integral to the Meron celebration.

Here are excerpts from the editorial:

“All the preparations were made for Lag B’Omer, and we were informed that there was a project director and there was an “outline”. Everything was organized with careful planning, meticulously. Maybe too much.

“But then everything collapsed.

“One tool, one and only, yet so substantial, which the organizers did not take into account and was missing, caused it. Not that they did not want to provide it, but during the planning of the outline and its implementation in the field, they did not take into account at all one essential and dramatic component. This tool is called “heart”.

“It may sound cliché, but it’s the truth and the handwriting was smeared on the wall in black letters. All those who have been engaged in the work of Meron for many years, decided unanimously in advance: there will be chaos and the public will not be allowed to celebrate with the proper respect for the Rashbi.

“The Hilula is not about the tribunes, nor is it the orchestra and lighting systems…nor even the hospitality of one to another.

“If it can be defined in a simpler way: it is not a ceremony according to the “rules of a ceremony”. The celebration of Lag B’Omer in Meron is first and foremost an event that is all “heart”, a warm and burning heart of the tens of thousands of the people of Bais Yisrael.”

“The heart is spontaneous, it is not programmable, it is not an amplification system. It is impossible for the heart to create an “outline” and when you do this to it, the heart seeks to be released, it overflows and then everything erupts.

“It is true that [last year] was a difficult disaster and it is important to learn lessons, but one should know that it is impossible to restrict people and not celebrate. The people in charge of the Hilula preferred to celebrate in a way that they considered safe, while they destroyed the Hilula with all its symbols and customs, along with Matan Kahana and his friends who do not understand anything about Charedi events.

“Lag B’Omer has character and form, and its management must be given over to the tzibbur that desires it. The police are required, in order to manage things like traffic lanes and security, but with a little more will, they could have managed it very differently.

“After a full year of them telling us that the “mainstream Charedim” were with them, that the people protesting against the intrusion were extremists and radicals, who don’t represent the tzibbur–Lag B’Omer arrived and proved that Am Yisrael is connected with Rabi Shimon and they have an innate sense of how to identify who is with Rabi Shimon and who is against him.

“We hope and pray that the state authorities will gain some common sense and together with the [Charedi] communities, will be able to manage Meron with understanding…without checkpoints, without police, but rather with the powerful ‘heart’ that erupted in its longing for Rabi Shimon.


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