RABBI SHIMON BEN YOCHOI’S DAY OF REJOICING The auspicious day of Lag B’Omer is the day of rejoicing of the great Sage Rabbi Shimon ben Yochoi (RaShBY) of whom his teacher R. Akiva said “(Only) I and your Creator know your powers”. RaShBY had to hide in a cave for twelve years, then for yet another year, because of his uncompromising stand in preserving Yiddishkeit under Roman rule and persecution.
When he finally regained freedom, one of the first things he set out to do was to inquire, “Is there anything that needs to be rectified?” Upon learning of such a situation, he immediately sets out to rectify it, though it only meant saving Jews the trouble of making a round about way. Yet, since it was a matter of concern to Jews, it deeply touches him, and he spares no effort or time, until he actually remedies the situation.
Consider: After spending thirteen years in a cave, with only sand to cover his body, and finally emerging painfully scarred by his ordeal — how does he start his free life? He goes out to inquire immediately what there is to rectify, and — true to the principle that “action is the essential thing” — he throws himself into the task and does not rest until it is accomplished. Needless to say, no one can compare to RaShBY, but since the above (Talmudic) account is Torah, it is certain that every Jew has the capability to carry out the moral lesson of this account, too; and with assured success, all the more so since RaShBY has shown the way and paved it for all of us.
If to do a Jew a favor materially — be it only to shorten the way for him to reach his destination — is such a great thing, how much more so is it to be able to show the way, and shorten the distance, in the spiritual sense, to keep the way of G-d, to do righteousness and justice. For it is the sacred duty of every Jew to walk in the way of G-d and to bring up his children to follow in this way, and to do all he can to spread Yiddishkeit, Torah and Mitzvos; including the teachings of RaShBY in his Sefer HaZohar, Pnimius haTorah, which has a particular relevance to our generation awaiting the imminent footsteps of Moshiach, for “with this Sefer haZohar Jews will be delivered from the Golus with Divine mercy.”(Zohar part III 124b as quoted in Igeres-Hakodesh ch 26 (142b)).
RASHBY ABOUT THE GEULAH
RaShBY states: “In every place where the Jews were exiled, the Shechinah (Divine presence) went with them.” (Megillah 29a) Whilst the Jews are in exile, G-d could have remained in Heaven, unaffected, looking after the fate of the Jews and the world in such a manner that at the proper time, and even before, He will redeem the Jews from golus. However, although G-d protects the Jews in the time of golus and hastens their redemption, but this is not sufficient, RaShBY explains that G-d is not satisfied with this and feels that it is impossible for Him to remain free, and to protect the Jews from above, for Him to be “somewhere else,” as it is written “in all their afflictions He is afflicted”.
G-d is not only feeling and going through what the Jews are experiencing in golus from His place above, but He is in golus together with every Jew. Wherever a Jew is in golus, whether in the U.S., or in another place outside of Israel, or even now in Israel (which is presently in a terrible golus), the presence of G-d goes with him into golus, into every country, city, neighborhood and street. And He remains with every Jew in every situation, to the last moments of the golus, until the beginning of the true Geulah.
And only then does “G-d return (with) your exiles” — with every Jew. Until the last moment of the golus, He hopes and yearns for the redemption of every single Jew, and only then will He leave exile together with the Jews of every land, every street and every house. G-d will go together with every Jew, to greet Moshiach in the true and complete Geulah. (Letter and Sichos of Lag B’Omer 5740)