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Two thoughts for Lag BaOmer

קבר רבי שמעון בר יוחאי
צילום: פלאש90

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Lag BaOmer starts this evening. It is appropriate at this time to learn from Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Two of these statements follow, not only to mark his passing that took place on Lag BaOmer, but also in memory of the souls of the 45 who perished in the Meron disaster a year ago:

  • "It is better for a person to throw himself into a fiery furnace than to embarrass his fellow in public” (Talmud Bavli, Berachot 43b) – It was to such an extent that Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochai was concerned with the honor of others. The one in whose honor bonfires are lit is telling us that it is preferable to be immolated in a fire than to insult or shame someone in public.
  • "Strife within the home is worse than the war between Gog and Magog” (Shemot Rabbah 1:28) – Relationships within the home are the foundation of society. A war between Gog and Magog sounds like a deadly event, but according to Rebbi Shimon, strife between children and parents or between siblings can have even more catastrophic consequences. The culture of the home, the language spoken, and the honor given from one family member to the next are the necessary prerequisites for peace in the home and in society at large.

May we never embarrass others in public and may we promote a respectful attitude and proper conduct in our homes. Happy Lag BaOmer.


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