Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Moshiach's Rainbow and Lag B'Omer


Lag B'Omer occurs on the 18th day of Iyar: this year Thursday May 10 [begins Wednesday night]

Why is Lag b’Omer celebrated with bonfires and bows and arrows?
by Rabbi Yossi Marcus

The bonfires celebrate the immense light that was brought into the world by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai [who passed away on Lag b’Omer], especially on the day of his passing.

The bow commemorates the fact that during Rabbi Shimon’s lifetime no rainbow was ever seen. [Bereishit Rabbah 35:2] Note: This was a good thing because the rainbow appears when the earth deserves punishment. The first time a rainbow appeared was after Noah’s flood, when G-d said that He will no longer destroy the world, rather He would send a sign: the rainbow. During Rabbi Shimon’s lifetime, the world was filled with merit because of him and therefore never saw a rainbow. [Genesis 9:8-17 and Rashi there]

There is a Kabbalistic tradition that on Lag b’Omer a rainbow will appear in a different color, which will symbolize the arrival of the Messianic age [Bnei Yissaschar]

5 comments:

  1. When one shoots an arrow with a bow, first the arrow is at the starting position, then it is pulled back, and then it shoots forward. We are in the present, but we have to look back at our forefathers and Jewish history to propel ourselves forward.

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  2. Years ago a week before Ariel Sharon had his massive stroke on the 5th of Tevet 5766, I saw a very large spectacularly beautiful full circular rainbow over the Temple Mount. I was north of Yerushalayim, and as we turned left at the Geva Binyamin traffic circle toward Yerushalayim, there it was. Yes, it was during Chanukah of 5766 after the Disengagement.

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  3. This post surprised me. I'd never heard of the association between the rainbow and the evil/sins. We were always thought rainbow was luck. Next time, though, I'll be worried when I see a rainbow.

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    1. I don't think you need to be worried so much, but we are taught that we shouldn't stare at a rainbow - which is the opposite to what most people do. The temptation to stare at it is very great.
      It is a sign that G-d will not destroy the world again by a flood, but also a sign of impending judgment.

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    2. Depends on what culture you come from...I'm a Maori from Aotearoa (Land of the Long White Cloud) or New Zealand (Colonial name). Maori see the rainbow as renewed hope or new beginnings. My grandfather always told me that rainbows are prominent where we live because they are our sign of hope. Kia ora (Life to you)

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