Lag B'Omer - 5754
On 17 Iyar 5754 (1994), I went to the immerse in the freezing cold water of the Ari's Mikvah in Tzfat before leaving for the Lag B'Omer festivities in Meron. At that time I did not realize that Reb Hanokh Henekh Buchman, a lumber merchant from my family's shtetl discovered this mikvah and provided the necessary funds to restore it in the late 1870's. Here I was on the yahrzeit of the rebbe of my family's shtetl immersing in a mikvah restored by a landsman from my family's shtetl. This certainly could not have been a coincidence.
Lag B'Omer in Meron was one of the most amazing things that I have ever seen in my life. Arriving in Meron, a friend and I made our way past the tens if not hundreds of thousands of people to the top of the building housing the kever of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. With bon fires burning and Chassidim dancing and singing, I spotted an old man surrounded by his followers. It was the Lelover Rebbe. I approached the Rebbe and he extended his hand to me and gave me a brocha. He handed me his pair of scissors so I could participate in the upsherin of a three year-old boy standing in front of him. After taking a snip of the little boys hair, my friend and I remained up on the top of the building for some time taking in the sights and atmosphere.
The memory of Lag B'Omer in Meron will remain with me my entire life. G-d willing, I will be able to return there one day along with my family.