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9 Shvat 5772 - February 2, 2012 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Bizchus Adoneinu Bar Yochai — Miracles on the Yom Hillulah of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai

In his letter concerning the gravesite of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, the Shloh Hakodesh writes: " . . . for many miracles have taken place there." Numerous are the cases of people who have been helped extraordinarily in the zchus of the Tana. Here are a select few:

Old Residents of Tel Aviv all knew him. Much as he tried to hide his greatness, R' Simchale Mond was famed for his geonus in Torah and his sterling character. Likewise, all were familiar with the annual pilgrimage of R' Simchale to Meron on Lag BaOmer, joining the throngs who poured out their hearts at the holy gravesite. Never would R' Simchale miss the trip. He expended every effort to be there on Lag BaOmer, come what may.

Even when he was well over ninety years old, he refused to compromise and as usual made the arduous journey to Meron.

"Why doesn't R' Simchale wait one or two days until the traffic and crowds have left Meron. Wouldn't it be so much easer?" he was asked that year. In his typically humble way, R' Simchale replied with a moshol.

When the rich philanthropist sits at home the year round receiving the poor and hearing their requests for donations, each one is questioned as to his status and conditions and is then given according to the judgment of the gvir. However, on the day of his grandchild's wedding, when the rich man is overcome with joy and throws out sums of money right and left, then no questions are asked; everyone receives a generous amount in honor of the joyous occasion.

"So too," continued R' Simchale, "when Hashem gives us favors in the merit of the tzaddik all year round, there are strict investigations as to who is the petitioner and what are his merits — `Un az men fregt is bitter' (and if there are questions asked, then it's bad for us), for not always are we fitting to receive Hashem's blessing. However, on the Yom Hillulah of R' Shimon, a day on which he begged that Jews rejoice, out of pure gladness, Hashem asks no questions and all requests are fulfilled."


The mekubal HaRav Osher Zelig Margolis, zt"l, relates two sagas to which he was witness.

In the days of the holy mekubal HaRav Chaim Shaul Hacohen Dwek, zt"l, a letter was sent to the tzaddik, from Tunis, begging him to intercede on their behalf in Heaven since the ruling Pasha was causing the Yidden untold misery.

It was the Shabbos before Selichos and R' Chaim Shaul Hacohen traveled with a group of twenty of his talmidim to stay for five days in Meron. In accordance with Meron tradition, they danced Hakofos around the grave of R' Shimon with their Arba Minim of the previous year and then proceeded to daven lengthy tefillos on behalf of their brethren in Tunis.

Upon their arrival home in Yerushalayim, the group discovered that a telegram from Tunis had preceded them, revealing that the Pasha died a sudden death, with no apparent cause.


The second story concerned Lag BaOmer in the year 5683 (1923) which fell on a Friday.

Most of the crowds who had made the pilgrimage to the grave of R' Shimon had made plans to stay over Shabbos where the exalted atmosphere would continue through the Shabbos tefillos, seudas and zemiros.

Shabbos morning after the musaf prayers, the ohel was suddenly filled with frightened, broken cries.

A 3-year-old Sephardic boy who had been brought to Meron to celebrate his "chalaka" had been struck with cholera and was lying comatose in one of the rooms above the holy tziyun. The doctors that were hurriedly brought from Tzfas nearby immediately quarantined the whole gravesite in order to prevent the spread of the disease, chas vesholom.

After a while, police came and cordoned off the whole courtyard and surrounding area. Above all the commotion, the loud weeping of the mother of the boy could be clearly heard. The heart-rending cries of a mother who had brought her only son to Meron to celebrate his third birthday and the cutting of his hair, only to discover that she would not be returning home with a live child.

"We were all terribly anxious and worried, and instead of making Kiddush, we began to say Tehillim. Suddenly, amidst the panic, confusion and heartfelt tefillos resounding all over, the woman took hold of her almost lifeless son and carried him down to the inner cave, the me'oroh, where she began to entreat and cry: Shimon Hatzaddik! Oi Rabbi Shimon Hatzaddik. It was in your merit that my first son was born. I brought him now after three years to celebrate with you his haircutting with customary singing and joyful dancing. How can I return home shamefaced without my child, I'm simply unable!"

The woman finished her pleading with a short techinah, "Please Ribono Shel Olom, I place my son in Your hands. Have pity and return him to me healthy in the zchus of R' Shimon Bar Yochai in whose honor I brought him here and I will sanctify Your Name and that of your servant, Adoneinu Bar Yochai in the world." Thus saying, she left the me'oroh, leaving her dear son sealed off from human contact.

Following this, we all continued fervently davening that Hashem indeed have mercy on this woman and her son.

After a few minutes, a childish voice was heard from within the me'oroh, "Ima! Ima — I'm thirsty! Please Ima bring me a drink."

Incredulously, the people hurried to open the doors and to our immense surprise and joy we saw the child standing by the door asking to drink.

He was immediately taken upstairs to one of the rooms on the roof and closely watched. When the doctors saw that his recovery was confirmed, they canceled the quarantine and closure and allowed the crowds back into the tziyun. Hundreds went up to the roof to see with their own eyes the miracle boy who had been saved in the merit of R' Shimon.


Every Lag BaOmer the Nassoder Rov used to relate the following story.

Many years ago the custom was to auction the honor of hadlakah, lighting the fire over the tziyun of R' Shimon on the night of Lag BaOmer, to the highest bidder.

One year a certain wealthy individual won the honor of hadlakah with a hefty sum. Immediately following the hadlakah, the crowd broke out into joyous singing and dancing "Bar Yochai Nimshachta Ashrecha." In the ensuing pushing and jostling, the wealthy man was pushed to the side and before he could catch his balance, he had fallen from the roof of the me'oroh to the ground below.

No one heard his weak cries for help and he lay there a while until one of the celebrants noticed him. The stranger carried him up to a room and then drove out to Tzfas to get a doctor's help, since the tiny town of Meron had no medical personnel.

It was no easy job to find a doctor who would agree to come late at night to Meron, but after much pleading and cajoling, one young medic agreed to make the trip. Arriving at the gravesite of R' Shimon, the young man took the doctor up to the room where he had helped the injured patient to lie down. To his astonishment, the room was empty. No sign of an injured man around. Anxiously, they began searching and enquiring. Already they were both tormented with regret at having taken so long to get there. Perhaps the man's condition had worsened and he was no longer — the thought tortured them as they searched and asked.

As they approached yet another circle of dancers, the man rubbed his eyes. Could he be dreaming? There, as large as life, was his wounded "patient," dancing and singing as though nothing had happened.

Noticing his "savior," the rich man grasped his hand, drawing him into the circle as he explained:

"As I lay there writhing in pain, I saw you going to call for help and in agony I passed out and fell asleep. I saw in my dream Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai who said to me, `When you bought the zchus to light the fire, you caused me such great joy. Now it is my turn to return to you that joy and heal you.'

"I awoke and tried to get off the bed, and Boruch Hashem — as you can see, I am totally healthy!"


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