Translated from Tzama Nafsi – Parsha Emor
On the yartzeit of Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai, fire comes down from the heavens. After Pesach, 33 days after Seder Night, we merit something completely awesome, the revelation of the Shechina, the revealing of the fire. All of the mountains surrounding Meron are ablaze.
On Yom Kippur, the Kohen Gadol would enter the kodesh kodoshim and then even the angels and the Seraphim would flee. They would be burnt up. So too Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai who is the aspect of the upper chassadim and the Kohen Gadol of all generations. All the holy angels would be burnt up from his fire, because the moment that Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai began speaking words of Torah, he would be encircled with flames of fire. Everything around him would be alight with fire. So if everything around him was afire when he was still alive, how much more so after his death, for tzaddikim are even greater after they have passed away then when they were alive.
Lag B’Omer is literally Yom HaKippurim: they day on which all our sins are forgiven. It is just like Kol Nidrei. Everything is forgiven—everything is erased and the greatest chassadim are revealed, the most wonderful chassadim. On Lag B’Omer a person can draw down all the mentalities and every kind of healing, all the salvations for the whole year. It is a day on which the sick can be healed from illnesses—every kind of healing in the world can be drawn down on this day. All kinds of cancer can be cured. Women can become pregnant. Anyone can find his or her shidduch. This day is the day of annulling vows, and everything is sweetened—all the sins that a person has done, millions of sins from the day he was born until today and from all his incarnations—everything is forgiven.
A person travels to Meron for three hours. He gets pushed around and suffers greatly among the thousands and thousands of people, and through this all his sins are forgiven, all his pegam habris (sins related to sexuality)—every sin that he did in his life is forgiven. This is what is written “Rebbe Shimon was very sharp minded.” Rabbi Shimon is overjoyed that hundreds of thousands of people travel to him—all of Am Yisrael travels to him. Every year more and more people come to him, and truly, no one knows what is happening here. No one can understand it—why people are traveling to Meron. People don’t have any understanding why they are going or what all the celebration of Lag B’Omer is about, but “even if he himself doesn’t see, his mazal sees.” The whole country is celebrating and making bonfires but they don’t actually know why. But a person really needs to know that the tzaddik is the source of all the souls—he is the foundation stone. He is the origin of every person, of each and every soul. Every soul is a small spark of the tzaddik. A spark of Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai is found in every Jew—the soul of Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai is found in every Jew. It is the soul that includes all of Am Yisrael, which surrounds the whole world, which encompasses all the worlds and all the sefirot, and that is why everyone travels to the grave of Rashbi, to be included in the soul which includes all of Am Yisrael.
A person needs to travel to Rashbi with mesirus nefesh. Rashbi is calling to us, “Come to me. Come up for the festival. 2 or 3 hours traveling and you’re already by me!” All the abundance in the world and all the blessings—prayer, Torah, holiness—everything that a person needs can be had if you will only come. Just start out on the journey! First and foremost you have to start traveling. The tzaddik is alive and well; he is G-dliness itself. You are not traveling to a regular person, so travel with great reverence! A person travels in a car or a bus for two or three hours—a journey with great reverence with books and prayers with hisbodedus and a bit of humming, without laughing or or joking around or any silliness. This is a journey for the sake of heaven in order to become purified and holy. Then Rashbi can send you an unlimited number of salvations, and unlimited amount of holiness and purity. He can give you a new soul. He is not restricted in any way. He has no limitation and he can give you everything—everything you can think of. Everything that you want, he can give you. Just go with great reverence and seriousness.
The Beis Aharon says that the highest level of all the verses in the book of Tehillim is: “My soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You”(Tehillim 63:2), expressing that even the physical body can turn into soul-matter. The flesh won’t feel any corporality or desires but will be burned up from love for Hashem. And this level of “my flesh longs for You” can be achieved through Rashbi, through the fire of Rashbi. His fire burns around him day and night, because Rashbi has the same letters as “my flesh”: beis, shin, raish and yud. A person who comes to Rashbi with seriousness, with much dancing, merits that all his flesh and his physical being are burnt up, and he reaches this higher level of, “my flesh longs for You.” Anyone who merits traveling to Rashbi with seriousness on Lag B’Omer, anyone who cries on Lag B’Omer and fills his time in Meron with dancing, who doesn’t stand silent like an idiot on the side, but who really dances, who really believes that Rashbi is alive and exists, and doesn’t go to Meron simply because of social pressure, because everyone else is going, but rather because he believes that Rashbi is alive and exists. Anyone that prays with enthusiasm and dances with enthusiasm and doesn’t stand on the sidelines when the dancing is taking place—just as the Rambam says, that whoever sits on the side when people are dancing he is a complete idiot and a total heretic, because he doesn’t believe in the power of the tzaddikim or the power of the dancing and doesn’t believe that the tzaddikim can attach themselves to him, because Rashbi is obliged to come way down on his yahrzeit, and attach himself to anyone who comes to him, and through this he can annul all the harsh decrees.
So whoever travels to Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai and really keeps his head in a book of Tehillim or a Gemara or other holy books, and will keep his head and his heart in check and will truly yearn for Rashbi, will merit that Rashbi will truly attach himself to him and will merit to the final redemption speedily and in our days Amen.
Master of the Universe, please be compassionate and take pity on us and reveal to us the wondrous light of the secrets of the Torah on this holy and awesome day. The day of Lag B’Omer on which You reveal and renew the soul of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai with an ever increasing power. For, according to the declining spiritual level of each generation, so is the soul of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai ascending and constantly increasing in influence and authority, enabling him to raise up out of the mire all those who have gone lost and fallen even into the furthermost depths.