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Half a million Jews make mecca to Meron for Lag B’Omer

[ Lag B’Omer is a holiday that celebrates Kabbalah (or Jewish mysticism).  The mecca made to Meron demonstrates just how popular Kabbalah is in Israel these days… ]

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Half a million observant Israelis made their way to Mount Meron on Saturday night as the Sabbath gave way to Lag Baomer, the Jewish holiday on which bonfires are lit to commemorate the Talmud-era day on which a plague that had killed 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva’s students finally ended.

Another of the rabbi’s students, Shimon Bar Yochai, survived the plagued and went on to become, according to tradition, the author of the Zohar. Bar Yochai is also commemorated on Lag Baomer, with celebrations and torchlighting taking place at his burial place on Mount Meron.

And so, hundreds of thousands of Jews made their way to the site Saturday for the annual celebration, during which three-year-olds receive their first haircuts.

Over 1,000 policemen were deployed to the site in order to ensure that the festivities were not marred by traffic jams or car accidents. They assessed that even as the Sabbath was waning, there were 20,000 pilgrims at the site.

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Note: For more information about “Counting the Omer” and Lag B’omer, see these pages:

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