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Monday, May 16, 2011

Lag Ba’Omer in Meron with Toldos Aharon.©

(as told to Vardah Littmann by one of the Toldos Aharon women)

In our Chassidut, everyone, but everyone, goes to Meron on Lag Ba Omer. If it happens that you can’t go due to illness or some other serious reason, then you feel terrible.

About 40 busses of Toldos Aharon chassidim set off from Yerushalayim for Meron on this special day. Family groups travel together with men in the front of the bus and woman at the back. The women prepare delectable snacks that are handed out during the trip. There’s a lot of simcha and singing as the bus winds its way up north. People bless each other over and over again, with all good things.

The Rebbe lights the bonfire before sunset at the end of the day of Lag Ba’Omer. This year Lag Ba‘Omer is on Sunday, and he plans to light on Sunday afternoon before sunset. The Rebbe stands on a stage to avoid the danger of the fire. He makes elaborate spiritual preparations and looks like a shining malach as he kindles the flames.

There are many who come from chutz l'aretz just to see the Rebbe light. The most amazing thing is that thousands of people fit into a place that can usually only contain about 150 to 200 people. Everyone makes sure to accommodate others and Hashem seems to expand the area. 

All the little three year olds stand with their fathers near the Rebbe's platform. After the bonfire has been lit, the fathers put the toddlers on their shoulders and dance with them in unrestrained joy.

On the morning of Lag B’Omer, these children, accompanied by their fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers, came to the main shul of Toldos Aharon inYerushalayim. Here the Rebbe marked the place were their hair should be cut. Beautiful, soul stirring tunes are played to arouse the elders to pray for their descendants who will soon be adorned with the Jewish siman of peyot.

After the dancing in Meron, they start cutting the children's hair. A child may be taken around to other Rebbes in Meron, so they can also take a snip of his hair and give him a bracha that he grow up to love and fear Hashem. The boy with his new haircut then puts on a kippah. He has been wearing  a chalata (a black and gold Yerushalmi coat) since the previous night of Lag B'Omer. He wore this shiny coat for the first time on the past Shabbos, and he’ll wear it until he falls asleep late this night. 

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