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B'siyata d'shmaya - With the help of Heaven



HaRav Nissim Behar zt"l of Turkey 5719/1959
from his La Práctica del Judaísmo (Ladino)

The 18th of lyar, the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer --Hebrew Lag Ba'omer) is the day of the Petira (passing) of HaRav Shimon Bar Yochai. This day is celebrated as the "Hilulla" (wedding and union) of HaRav Shimon Bar Yochai with his Creator.1

2. On that day, we omit Tachanun in the prayers, and from that day or it is again permissible to celebrate weddings, cut one's hair, and shave. These things were forbidden from the beginning of the Omer until this day.

3 We have the custom to kindle many lights and candles in the synagogue on the night of Lag Ba'Omer.

4. In Eretz Yisrael, Lag Ba'omer is celebrated by singing and dancing around bonfires, kindled in honor of HaRav Shimon Bar Yochai.

5. After Arvit on the night of Lag Ba'Omer, we have the Minhag to read parts the Zohar Hakadosh relevant to the passing of HaRav Shimon Bar Yochai, followed by the song: "Bar Yochai Nimshachta".


1 Lag Ba'Omer is the anniversary of the death of HaRav Shimon Bar Yochai, author
of the Zohar Hakadosh. We are told that on that day his house was filled with a
very strong I light, and at sunset he returned his holy soul to its Creator. Although
normally the day of the death of a Tzaddik is marked as a Taanit, it was the wish HaRav Shimon Bar Yochai that the day of his passing should be remembered year with joy and happiness, in an atmosphere of Mitzva and holiness.



These remarks are with the endorsement of the (former) Hahambashi, HaRav Raphael E. Saban zt"l and the endorsement of the Beit Din of Turkey. These are based on the Sephardic tradition from Turkey, handed down to us from Castile, Spain.