Second only to Mount Hermon in the north, Mount Meron is one thousand two hundred meters high. On its slopes are the graves of many Jewish sages from the first century onwards including Rabbi Hillel and Rabbi Shamai. The best known and most visited is the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

Sentenced to death by the Romans he and his son were nourished for years by a carob which grew in the mouth of the cave in which they hid. Traditionally it was during this time that Bar Yochai wrote the Zohar, which is the basis for the Kabala and the study of esoteric Judaism.

Because of its proximity to mount Meron students of the Kabala, expelled from Spain in 1492,were drawn to Safed which became a center of spiritualism and Kabala studies.

In the sixteenth century the Ari (r. Isaac Luria) began the tradition of visiting the tomb of Bar Yochai on the anniversary of his death which falls on the thirty third day of the counting on the Omer which begins immediately after Passover. Thirty three using Hebrew letter is L’g, hence Lag BaOmer.

Text content copyrights: Bein Harim Ltd., Beryl Ratzer (www.ratzer.com)

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Mount Meron

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