It was on Lag B'Omer ... that a plague that had killed 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva's students finally ended. Choosing vegetarianism champions life by saving lives everyday. Shortly after the plague, Rabbi Akiva chose five students to carry on his work, one of whom was the great sage Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his son Rabbi Eleazar hid in a cave for thirteen years after Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was condemned to death by the Roman conquerors of Jerusalem .... While they lived in a cave, they were sustained by their studies of the Torah, a local stream, and a nearby carob tree for their food. These great sages demonstrated that a vegetarian diet, like the manna the Israelites received in the Sinai desert, is enough to sustain a person as well as a people.
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai taught that our world and the unseen "higher" worlds are unified, as manifestations of the Divine Soul, and that the meaning of life is to reunify Creation with the source of Creation. He also affirmed that the "crown" of a good name, doing good deeds, is the most important thing, even more so than studying Torah, and is within the reach of everyone. He further asked that his day of passing be a day of celebration. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai died on Lag B'Omer.
Saturday, May 5, 2007
Hayom sh'losha u'sheloshim yom, shehaym arbaa shavuot vachamisha yamim baomer
Happy Lag B'Omer! Here's an excerpt from "Lag B'Omer and Vegetarianism: Making Every Day Count" by Daniel Brook and Richard H. Schwartz: