We hope you had a meaningful Pesach! Right now, we are counting the Omer. Why? Because we are building up, one brick at a time, to be fitting vessels to receive the true light of Torah on Shavuot. Pesach cleansed us of our arrogance, which prevents us from building good middot, and now, we can use that cleansed person to actually develop the good middot that we need so that Torah will stick to us in the right way.
What do I mean?
A person who is haughty, but learns Torah, may filter that Torah through their arrogant lenses (I’m better and more learned than others so I can look down at them).
A person who is angry, but learns Torah, may filter that Torah through his anger (I have the right to get mad at others because they are doing aveirot and deserve it).
Only a person who has worked on his middot and developed lofty character traits can truly use the Torah in the way that G-d intended – in a way that reflects the harmony and perfection of Hashem.That is what this time is for – to make sure that we are people that use and see the Torah in a way that reflects G-d-liness.
Of course, learning in itself helps a person develop their middot and connect to the Divine Will. We also know that the greatest mitzva is to learn Torah. The point here is that middot work and Torah-learning go hand-in-hand. A person can’t escape working on their middot by learning Torah. Without the first, a person cannot reach perfection.
One such example is Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai. The Rebbe had reached some of the highest levels of perfection while learning secluded for 12 years in a cave with his son and Eliyahu Hanavi. But still, the Rebbe continued to learn for another 12 years until his lofty spiritual soul could co-exist harmoniously in a world of people who were not as spiritually attuned as he.
Rebbe Shimon’s yarhzeit is on the 33rd day of Lag B’Omer (in just 10 days!).
We will be sending some brave shlichim to Mt. Meron that night to contend with the tens of thousands of other Jews vying for a place at the kever. Tzaddikim have long been known to send shlichim to pray on their behalf at the kever of Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai when they needed healing or other help. How much more so is the power of prayer at the kever greater on the day of his yarzheit – the day when the Jewish world over celebrates the spiritual light he brought into the world through lighting bonfires.
Be there with us!* A donation of $18 is requested for a personally composed prayer along with a perek of Tehillim.* A donation of $36 is requested for a personally composed prayer as well as the special prayer at the kever of Rebbe Shimon .
With love and blessings from Jerusalem,