After the Israel Independence day celebrations, Meron was next in line in my Israel Experience year. I was in Meron last thursday for the Lag Baomer festivities and although I had heard a lot about it, I frankly didn't know exactly what to expect.
It turns out to be that Meron is one of those things in life no one can pass - it should be in the top of everyone's destination list.
Hundreds of thousands of Israelis, Americans, Europeans and even some gentile tourists head there with only backpacks and a lot of patience, only to fulfill Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai's request that his Yartzeit day should be a day of celebrations and not sadness. Meron is exactly that - it's a happiness fair. The Na Nachman guys are one of the most prevalent groups there and they have kiosks everywhere in the mountain, powered with blasting techno songs. The Chabadnikim are also there, with their iconic Mitzva Tank and there's food for everyone - Rashbi's Pizza, Rashbi's Shnitzel and some free meals served by Chessed organizations from here.
But the Toldos Aharon bonfire is what surprised me the most. Thousands of "Zebra" Chassidim, alongside with random visitors dancing around the fire singing Bar Yochai, made this day truly memorable to me - amazing energy, human warmth and inspiration.
As I said, I didn't know what to expect from Meron and I'm sure many of you haven't been there, so I tried to capture a little bit of that happened in that night, in a sequential order, so you can know what to expect before you get there. Enjoy!
The Poper Rebbe
1 week ago