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Lag Ba'omer in the Eyes of Kabbalah

 

What is the Omer count? What's so special about Lag Ba'omer? What's the connection between Lag Ba'omer and Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochay? And why the Lag Ba'omer fires?

The wisdom of Kabbalah endows man with a unique research tool. It enables us to understand each and every phenomenon and each and every thought. That wisdom is based on the understanding that life has a purpose, a goal. During the course of our lives we're meant to reach that goal and be able to measure our progress each step of the way. The holidays we celebrate mark special degrees anyone who walks the path to complete his development encounters.

This brings us to the question - what is man's purpose in life?

The Creator created souls and dressed them in bodies. Within each of us there is a soul, which belongs to the upper world and aspires to return to the place from which it came. It must return to its root in the span of one life cycle, so that man can live simultaneously in both worlds, the one we know, and the one we all came from. Only in this state can one fulfill one's desire for happiness, tranquility, confidence and a complete understanding of the world around us.

Each of us lives many lives, during which the soul experiences the desire to rise above the difficulties and return to its root. But along with that it senses the objection of the body and the environmental conditions to its process of development. That objection is meant to develop in the soul the ability to correct itself and rise to its root by overcoming the obstacles.

Man's goal is to reach the root of his soul while still in the world, in his body of flesh.

The path from this world to the end, the point of utter bliss, divides into two parts: during the first, we mend the upper part, called the "Head of the Soul". During the second, we mend the lower part, called the "Body of the Soul".

A soul is comprised of ten parts called Sephirot. Their names are: Keter, Chochmah, Binah, Chesed, Gvurah, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, Yesod and Malchut. The first three belong to the head of the soul and were corrected by earlier kabbalists. The seven remaining Sephirot must be corrected during the course of our lives, so that when their correction is completed, a man reaches completion.

Within each of the seven Sephirot of the body there are seven inner Sephirot. For instance, within Chesed, there are Chesed within Chesed, Gvurah within Chesed, Tifferet within Chesed Malchut within Chesed. Thus all and all there are fourty nine Sephirot that need mending during the course of the climb up the spiritual ladder.

Passover symbolizes man's exodus to the spiritual world, where he discovers the structure of the soul. Then he begins his climb, rung by rung, through the correction of the Sephirot, until the fiftieth day, when he celebrates the holiday called Shavuot (Pentecost). Pentecost, also called the festival of the receiving of the Torah, testifies to the end of the correction needed from man that he may receive the great light called Torah.

The Omer count, between Passover and Pentecost, includes forty-nine days, so that each day a man corrects one of the Sephirot of the body. If we open the prayer book in the chapter that describes the Omer count, we'll find that to each day is dedicated to a singular Sephirah.

On the first day we mend Chesed within Chesed, on the second Gvurah within Chesed and so on until in the last day we mend Malchut within Malchut.

The first thirty-three Sephirot from Chesed within Chesed through Yesod within Yesod, are the upper Sephirot of the body in the correction plan. That is the program that activates the whole process. The remaining sixteen have to do with actual performance of commandments. That is why he who's corrected the first thirty-three Sephirot is guaranteed to succeed in the correction of the rest and the completion of the process. After thirty-three days, he knows for certain that on the fiftieth day his soul will be filled with light called the receiving of the Torah.

The number thirty-three, when presented using the Hebrew letters Lamed and Gimel, forms the combination Lag. That is why we celebrate Lag Ba'omer on the thirty-third day of the count, to celebrate the certainty that we shall reach our goal on earth and achieve the full correction of our soul.

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochay (RASHBY), who wrote the holy book of Zohar, formulated a unique method for the correction of the soul. It is unique because RASHBY himself went through each degree in the spiritual world and reformed it so that anyone could follow. Thanks to him we too can climb up that path, by following the orders written in the holy book of Zohar.

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochay justify this world on the thirty-third day of the Omer count, since on that day he has completed the correction plan for all the souls to follow. All we have to do is follow the instructions and thus carry out his plan.

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochay prepared for us the path to perfection and eternity. That is why we celebrate on Lag Ba'omer the completion of his exalted mission for all souls to come.

The lighting of the fire symbolizes the great light that is promised to one who has corrected his soul to the degree of Lag Ba'omer, which he is destined to receive on Pentecost.

One who has corrected his soul to the degree of Lag Ba'omer, is guaranteed to attain the full correction of his soul. For that reason he celebrates his state with gratitude to RASHBY who's paved the way for him and granted him, through the holy book of Zohar, the method to correct his soul.

 

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