Spontaneity Has Its Moments

I suspect that both sides of this debate will have similar answers.

The question as stated is an easy one to answer. No, there is hardly any reason I can think of that allows a person to spend a thousand dollars when behind on tuition payments. Should a rebbi or secular studies teacher receive a paycheck two weeks late in order for a student’s parent to have a yeshuah in Meron? Maybe. Ask them first.

Any yeshuah said to be had from Rabi Shimon is overshadowed by the hardship caused to his child’s mossad that has to borrow on his account. He would be better served by utilizing the segulah of paying on time to have ehrlich children. It is a tried and true segulah that works like a miracle.

Harav Shlom’ke Zhviller’s assertion that the Gemara could have added the expenses of traveling to Meron to the list that Hashem says, “Borrow on My account and I will repay,” does not figure into this equation. Rather, the Gemara advises this willful neglecter to “make your Shabbos [seudos] as weekday.” Spend your Lag BaOmer at a bonfire, shoot some bows and arrows in the park and treat your kids to ice cream.

A school administrator I spoke to said that he would ask anyone who goes to Meron while behind in tuition payments to take his children out of his school. And I don’t disagree with that.

So I understand the question to refer to a responsible person who generally pays his s’char limud, but has an occasional lapse. A similar question might be addressed to someone who takes off from work to go to Meron without informing his boss, or a man going without his wife’s permission.

But why only Meron? What about the all too prevalent practice of vacations, both summer and winter, taking precedence over s’char limud? Expensive clothes? State-of-the-art carriages?

And the answer is that it is wrong. If you ask if you should go, then stay home.

But if someone does not have a she’eilah and goes anyway, then I would support him. Prepare to suffer the consequences, but my heart tells me that he did the correct thing by following his own heart.

The reason is simple. Yidden, or at least the majority of the chassidic kehillos, have for the past few hundred years embraced the Meron mystique.

The Bais Aharon of Karlin said that every Yid, even the lowest, has a connection to Rabi Shimon. His grandson, Harav Yochanan Perlow of Karlin Stolin, called Lag BaOmer the “Yom Tov Sheini of Eretz Yisrael.” His brother, Harav Avraham Elimelech of Karlin, said that “after leaving Meron there is nothing more to be mispallel for.” Reb Shlom’ke Zhviller said that if someone is in Meron on Lag BaOmer it is a sign that Rabi Shimon personally invited him to his “hilula” — chasunah in Aramaic.

When the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh made his single trip to Meron on Lag BaOmer, he crawled up the mountain on his hands and knees, crying the entire way, saying, “How can I go up to such a makom kadosh, where the neshamos of the Avos Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, are?”

The uniqueness of Meron was expressed by the Yerushalmi phrase, “Yom Kippur inside, Simchas Torah outside.” The yeshuos that take place there are indeed pervasive. It is nigh impossible to explain the dynamics that envelop Eretz Yisrael to someone who was never there. Thousands of buses winding their way up the “barg,” the intense simchah, the dancing into the wee hours, the harmonious symphony of Sephardic, Chassidic, Breslover and Israeli music — all within 100 feet of each other.

Close to a half million people crowd into the tiny village, each person determined to spend his few seconds in the 1,000 square feet of the me’arah before making his way to any one of the dozens of celebrations, seudos or fires that pulse throughout the area.

How can we blame someone for getting caught up in the moment and booking a ticket? We live in a generation of glossy color magazines promising yeshuos and then some. And credit cards make spontaneity much easier.

Flying off without a cheshbon may have its place sometimes. (Provided, of course, that it is a one-time event — you can’t be spontaneous too often.)

So if you have to dig deep for the Meron trip, dig deeper for s’char limud first. But if you go anyhow, take the consequences into consideration and enjoy.