Ramat Gan Chief Rabbi HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Ariel Shlita is calling on the tzibur not to take part in the Motzei Shabbos Lag B’Omer festivities in Meron. The rav explains that due to the fact the lighting of the main bonfire will take place on motzei Shabbos the event will result in major chilul Shabbos involving “thousands of policemen” and others. The rav feels the celebrations should be pushed off to prevent chilul Shabbos.
Rav Ariel points out that this is the position of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel pertaining to this year too, yet the chareidi tzibur seems to remain unconcerned. Rabbi Ariel feels the day may be a festive one and the nighttime lighting can be towards motzei Lag B’Omer instead of motzei Shabbos.
The rav states the chilul Shabbos caused by the motzei Shabbos event is tremendous and can and must be avoided. He points out that many people who will be participating will also be mechalel Shabbos to arrive on motzei Shabbos and there is no justification for the event realizing this is the case.
“Any Jew who cares should not travel to Meron and attend the event on motzei Shabbos. If the tzibur does not attend the organizers will learn a lesson for the future” the rav explains. He adds this is the single largest event that takes place annually and it is horrifying to think how much chilul Shabbos surrounds It”.
Regarding the bonfires, the rav suggests that people make smaller fires rather than one extremely large one, citing environmental concerns as well as the pollution and annoyance to so many people in the area. The smaller fires he explains are easier to control, less dangerous and far less bothersome to people in the area.
“Each individual does not have to make a private fire. One does not have to remain awake the entire night. One may make a small fire for a few people together and meaningful words can be recited around the fire.” The rav also stresses the need to be careful that people gathering wood should not chas v’sholom transgress Halachos against gezel.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)