500,000 expected at Mount Meron for Lag b’Omer

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Tens of thousands of Chasidim gathered on Mount Meron in northern Israel to celebrate Lag b’Omer.

The Chasidim who gathered at the site on Wednesday are among some 500,000 people expected to visit there for the holiday, which began on Wednesday night and ends at sundown Thursday.

Among the events said to have taken place on Lag b’Omer, a break during the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot, is the revelation of the Zohar, a book revealing the secrets of Kabbalah. On Lag b’Omer, it is tradition to visit the Mount Meron grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a disciple of Rabbi Akiva who wrote the Zohar.

Other traditions include lighting bonfires – in part to signify the light of the spiritual teachings and remember the Bar Kochba revolt that overthrew Roman rule around 132 CE – and giving three-year-old boys their first haircuts.

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