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May 12, 2014

Is the Rabbanut responsible for the coming Lag Baomer disaster?

The Rabbanut, in its most recent newsletter update, has announced that because Lag BaOmer falls out on Motzei Shabbos, the official lighting of the bonfires will be delayed until Sunday evening, to avoid causing chilul shabbos (of people who might light too early, along with security forces who must prepare for the various events).

In accordance with this decision, the Ministry of Education has changed the Lag BaOmer vacation day from school from Sunday to Monday.

Personally, I think neither day should be a vacation day as Lag Baomer is not a real holiday, parents have work, and I assume kollel, like the regular day it is...

The Rabbanut further stated as part of its decision that people who will light the bonfires on Saturday night, whether in Meron or elsewhere, despite the Rabbanut decision, should not do so before 10:30 pm.

Some are blaming the expected colossal failure of the public transportation system to Meron on this decision of the Rabbanut. How so? By pushing off Lag Baomer, and therefore changing the school vacation day to Monday, that means the private and public buses that are normally used to take children to school will still be needed to take those kids to school on Sunday, and will not be available for use in transportation to Meron on Saturday night and Sunday. Egged cannot make up that shortfall from other sources.

And God forbid they should change the date of a fake holiday to avoid chilul shabbos, so they prefer to create a disaster on Saturday night and Sunday and blame the government...

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  1. What makes it a "disaster" that throngs of people who don't plan ahead suddenly want to all travel to someplace for a big event - and the buses are crowded, slow, and inadequate? Organize and pay for a chartered bus, stay in the North over Shabbos, there are many options. That people are entitled to all buses in the country to reschedule according to their personal plans is a very shallow expectation.

  2. Another brilliant post. Yes. First let's start with a subtle dig at Kollel guys, who, you know, may want to spend family time on Lag B'Omer with the kids as parents have done now for at least the last 30 years and probably longer. But, its ok, we already know that you love to mock Kollel guys.

    Next, let us assume that we can change the mind of the 200,00 people who show up in Meiron all have decided to keep the 1st Minhag of Sfira. Next, if they all do have the Minhag, let us now assume that they are willing to abandon the Lag B'Omer minhag (yes Minhag, even if it has not been written in any Sefer that you happened to have read - fact is that people have been going there for (at least) decades on Lag B'Omer) of making an actual celebration on Lag B'Omer itself.

    I'm curios who the Shabbos desecration is coming from? Religious people who know not to drive on Shabbos? Irreligious peeople who would otherwise keep the Shabbos the day before Lag B'Omer? Are there any studies that show that people who used to be Shabbos observers decide to abandon their beliefs to attend a bonfire?

    Please. This is ridiculous. I have a better idea. Let's call Sunday "Lag B'Omer" and let's call Monday "National Lampoon's Rabbanut Vacation "

    1. not sure what your complaint is. you perceived a dig when there was none. I assume kollel yungerleit have kollel on the day of Lag Baomer, but that might not be the case. many years have passed since the time I learned in kollel, and I dont know their schedule. I see no reason they should have the day off, which is why I wrote I assume they have kollel. I was going to leave them out completely, but didnt want to be insensitive to them and make it seem having kids home from school is a difficulty only for working parents, as it is also difficult for a father who is supposed to be in kollel but now must stay home and supervise his children. if kollel gives the day off, then the difficulty is not relevant to him.

      nowhere did I say people cannot choose to go to meron. people can, and do, do whatever they want. I said the MoE should not give the kids a day off for it. if the kids are given a day off, the State should turn it into a national holiday. They dont, and I dont think they should, but they should also not give the kids the day off from school.

      regarding chillul shabbos, I am not sure why you consider it insignificant. most chilul shabbos would be done by irreligious people (some perhaps by religious people, probably unintentionally or with good intentions), yet it would largely be done, by the security forces at least, on behalf of the mostly religious people. Others would be done for personal reasons, but dont we religious people try to avoid public chilul shabbos? isnt that a large part of what our MKs and askanim spend their time doing - stopping non-religious people from violating shabbos in public settings? We hear fairly regularly how serious public chilul shabbos is, yet you seem to think it is insignificant and not our business.

      this reminds me of a recent conversation. someone complained about construction that was taking place regularly in RBS C on Shabbos. it can easily be heard weekly in many parts of RBS A, as the sound travels across the valley. Someone responded suggesting it is nonexistent, and if it actually exists, who cares. I responded that during the recent electiosn, the biggest and greatest concern was having a mechalel shabbos as mayor because he might (they said he would) allow and assist other mechalelei shabbos to be mechalel shabbos. Yet now, in the face of actual chilul shabbos, those same people dont care at all. it is hypocrisy.

    2. You are right about the Kollel, as I might have mistaken the tone. I guess I didn't see the need to distinguish Kollel yungerlite from the rest of the population.

      I never claimed that you said people "cannot chose to go to Meiron". The substance of your argument was NOT that the MoE shouldn't give a day off. That was just a sentence you threw in there. The thrust of your post was to shift the blame to those who don't feel that the celebration of Lag B'Omer should changed. My response is that the whole argument itself a non-starter and, as far as I can see, illogical. They have good intentions, but it doesn't work.

      I never said Chilul Shabbos is insignificant. I ask, yes rhetorically, exactly which Jews will now suddenly be Michallel Shabbos because of a bonfire in Meiron. If they are religious, they won't be Michallel Shabbos and if they are not religious they are anyway being Michallel Shabbos. This doesn't change anything. You feel that there are Jews that who normally keep Shabbos will unintentionally break it now? I find that highly unlikely to the point of absurd.

      And your last point, because I guess the elections didn't go on long enough for us to get our fix of blame shifting, is not relevant at all. First, yes I'm sure that this one genius you found who feels that Chillul Shabbos in RBS C (g?)is not important is representative of all those hypocrites who felt that Abutbol was the better choice for mayor. (BTW, I know it's also not hypocritical to feel that Chillul Shabbos is bad on the one in a million chance that a religious Jew decides to drive to Meiron but is Ok with a mayor who might( they say he wouldn't have) assisted others to be Mechallel Shabbos (odds were higher than one in a million).

    3. you missed my point, but forget about it.

      most of this post was not commentary but informational. I was letting the public know about the rabbanuts decision. there were two lines that were my commentary:
      1. the line about not giving kids a vacation day from school
      2. the line about the fake holiday and blaming the disaster on the government.

      the middle paragraph, about the cancelation of sunday as a vacation day and therefore setting up a transportation disaster, wasnt from the announcement of the rabbanut but was from other news sources that have been under public discussion for the past week, and was also not my commentary.

    4. The answer to Anonymous' question is YES - there are many traditional people who prefer to be home with the families on Shabbat, but have a job that would require them to break Shabbat if the major bonfires are held on Motzei Shabbat.
      There are many religious or traditional Fire fighters, police officers, security personal, or bus drivers that wouldn't normally work on Shabbat, but would if there is a potential Pikuach Nefesh situation which requires them to.
      Are these people not entitled to spend Shabbat with their families if it could be arranged?

      Having a bonfire in Meron right after Shbbat involves using thousands of "Goyim shel Shabbat" - who just so happen to be Jewish - how can that be acceptable to anyone who values Shabbat?

    5. Anonymous said, "I ask, yes rhetorically, exactly which Jews will now suddenly be Michallel Shabbos because of a bonfire in Meiron." Policemen, firemen, bus drivers, taxi drivers, vendors, to name a few. You see, the Meiron Avodas Zora is a massive undertaking with thousands of people. People in the service sector are need to work overtime and care for these fools. So it's not "rhetorical" at all, the "guardians of Shabbos", by not moving Lag B'Omer, will be DIRECTLY responsible for countless acts of Chilul Shabbos.

  3. I suggest to refine the post a bit because it does not seem as clear as your usual writing is.

    I don't think the criticism of the Rabanut is proper. We've had a few motzei Shabbat Lags in the past few years and there really does seem to be an effort to improve things each time. I also believe that this Ministry of Education vacation day should be abolished and NOT added somewhere else. They government is actually encouraging the fake holiday but mostly the criminal activity that widely leads to it and that is stealing wood, children lighting fires with no adult supervision, and staying up all night.

    The Haredi politicians are also in 'complain about everything' mode and criticizing the latest transportation guidelines which actually seem very logical. They don't like the shuttle system and that private cars and buses need to park far away. Last year's mess was caused in one instance due to a chartered bus who decided to make a u turn on the way to Meron because someone forgot his tefillin or something and this tied up traffic for a very long time. I imagine that other drivers also refused to obey police orders and each argument (ultimately the police win) causes more delay for everyone behind.

  4. Anon #2 your head is in the sand. Read any article on the subject or just think a little. Chilul Shabbos is all the safety preparations incumbent upon the police, all the transportation planning and preparations put upon Egged for special runs. And you will probably also be shocked to hear that most Israelis like Jewish holidays even if they don't keep halacha so well, which means they don't think of Lag B'Omer as a Halloween but rather something to do as part of their heritage. So the other Chillul Shabbos is all the kids in "traditional" homes foraging and setting up their bonfires on Shabbos afternoon ch"v.

    However, unfortunately the "nidcha" isn't really working and the Rabbanut would be better off giving that idea up and instead setting guidelines to make realistic improvements.

    1. The nidcha is actually picking up steam, give it a chance, Rome was not built in a day.
      Next chance in 2017 :-)

  5. Do we skip tachanun on monday, too?

    But dont dare skip tachanun on (whichever day of) 5 iyar!

    Or on Shmuel HaNavi's yarzeit ( = yom yerushalayim).

  6. "First let's start with .... Kollel guys, who, you know, may want to spend family time on Lag B'Omer with the kids as parents have done now for at least the last 30 years and probably longer"

    Well, duh, if they weren't so busy proving that they don't support the state that (partially) supports them, by circumventing the law that requires all state-sponsored institutions to close for the national holiday of Yom Haatzmaut, they would have had their family day two weeks before. (Not to mention the entire month of Nissan). It would make more sense to complain about the lack of family time during winter zman.

  7. people can want to spend as much family time as they want. if it is not an official vacation day, they have to either take a personal vacation day or not. if I have a job, it doesnt matter that I want to spend time with my family. I have to go to work, or use a vacation day (which often needs to be scheduled with a boss). not sure why kollel guys should get off just because they want to spend the day with the family. take a vacation day or encourage the State to turn it into a national holiday (which probably wont happen)

  8. regarding schools being closed on lag baomer - it is a post-facto closure of school i.e. since a large percentage of the youth are out all night at their bonfires - therefore - school is closed - not because it is a holiday.
    specifically the way they are doing things this year - vacation on monday - not sunday - encourages people to move the bonfires to sunday night - i.e. not motzei shabbat - and therefore no chillul shabbat

    benjie G

  9. Link: http://esseragaroth.blogspot.co.il/2014/05/jewish-israeli-blog-round-up-behuqothai.html


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