Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

The Answers Man

Aryeh Ehrlich

The family of Rav Mordechai Dov Kaplan, the rav of the Ari shul and the Old City in Tzfas, was entrusted with a sacred mission by the Rebbes of Ruzhin. Every Lag B’omer, he’d travel to Meron, to watch flames of joy and salvation overtake the dark hilltop. And while he views today’s massive crowds as a sign of blessing, he misses the unity that marked the Meron of his childhood — when there was one fire for everyone.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It was Erev Lag B’omer, 1945. The Jews of Tzfas had made their yearly journey up the isolated Mount Meron, and were now convened on the roof of the tziyun of Rabi Shimon bar Yochai. Rav Avraham Leib Zilberman, rav of Tzfas, stood with the torch in his hand, ready to carry out the task entrusted to his family by the Ruzhiner dynasty — to light the fire in honor of Rashbi. But the sky was still shrouded in darkness, with no moon in sight. According to tradition, the fire was only lit when the moon grew visible. The people of Tzfas and their rav stood and waited. The hour grew later; nine o’clock came and went. Still no moon. A low murmur overtook the crowd: “Let the rav light already, there is no use waiting.” But one of the assembled, a mekubal from Tzfas, silenced the grumbling. “The rav should not be pressured,” he said. “Wait until the moon appears. Perhaps it is a hint from Above.” At 9:50 the news rippled through the assemblage on the mountaintop:AdolfHitler had killed himself in his Berlin bunker. A few minutes later, the moon emerged, andRavAvrahamLeib lit the fire. Finally, the lonely hill erupted in glorious song. Lag B’omer had arrived, bringing with it salvation and a rare glimpse of Divine favor in the darkest of times.

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you