Sunday, May 18, 2014

Five Things You Should Know About Lag B'Omer

1. It is popularly believed that Lag ba-Omer is the day on which Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai died. This is based on a printing mistake found in one version of a story regarding the Arizal, while all other versions of the story do not say anything about it being his yahrzeit. This error is acknowledged by mainstream charedi kabbalists such as Rav Yaakov Hillel. (For more details, see the excellent discussion by Rabbi Eliezer Brodt at the Seforim Blog.)

2. There is no evidence that anyone at all celebrated Lag B'Omer before the 17th century. (Please correct me if you have evidence otherwise.) No less an authority than Chasam Sofer was strongly opposed to Lag B'Omer celebrations. He argued that one should not make a new Yom Tov that is not based on a miraculous event, that has no basis in Shas and Poskim, and that is based on the death of someone. (See here for links.)

3. When Lag B'Omer falls on motzai Shabbos, this causes an immense amount of chillul Shabbos, that would not otherwise have occurred. See this account by one charedi firefighter who was forced to leave his family on Shabbos in order to go to work. As discussed last week, due to this problem, the dati-leumi rabbonim ruled that one should not make a bonfire on motzai Shabbos. This ruling is not supported by charedi rabbonim.

4. It is widely accepted in the Orthodox world that the Zohar, which Moses de Leon published in the 13th century, was written by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. It is further widely held that to question the authenticity of the Zohar is heresy. You Don't Mess With The Zohar.

5. Nevertheless, Chasam Sofer was of the view that the vast majority of the Zohar was not written by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, but was instead written much later. The standard view amongst frum people with academic training and/or non-dogmatic attitudes who are knowledgeable about this topic is that the Zohar was largely written by Moses de Leon, albeit incorporating older traditions to a lesser or greater extent. See this lengthy article by an anonymous charedi rabbi discussing many problems with the Zohar. Rav Ovadiah Yosef said that because of the serious questions that arise with attributing the Zohar to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, one cannot call someone a heretic for rejecting his authorship of it. See too this article by Dr. Marc Shapiro mentioning other authorities that rejected the antiquity of the Zohar.

(My explanation about the deletion of the posts about the Kaplan Affair will be posted at a later stage. There's nothing nefarious about it.)

63 comments:

  1. Why would it be heresy to reject the Zohar even if R' Shimon Bar Yochai wrote it? I don't remember the Rambam codifying accepting every single tad-bit of aggada spoken by Chazal as a principle of Jewish faith.

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    1. Why would the Rambam be the be-all-and-end-all of what is considered heresy?

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    2. I think the background to this relates to the Darda'im movement in Yemen which rejected the authenticity of the Zohar and created a big schism in the community. The matter reached the leading Sephardic rabbis in Jerusalem who issued a proclamation labeling the Dardai'im heretics and placing them in herem. Years later Hacham Ovadia was asked regarding the halachic status of the Darda'im in Israel (presumably based on this previous proclamation of the rabbis of the prior generation).

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    3. @Rosenzweig: There exists no statement from Haza"l saying that the Zohar was written by Rashbi. (In fact, there exists no statement from Haza"l mentioning the Zohar at all.)

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  2. Meiri, Beth Habechirah, Yevamoth 62b
    Don't get me wrong. I'm not a Lag B'omer fan by any means, but he does say that he has a tradition from the Geonim that the students stopped dying on the 33rd day of the Omer and that mourning practices are interrupted on that day.

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    1. The question is whether the mourning practices are obligatory. There is no mention at all of any mourning practices in Mishneh Torah as far as I know, and the Rambamists I know hold that there isn't any mourning during this period.

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    2. As Rabbi Leiman like to point out, they stopped dying because they were all dead. That's not really a reason to celebrate.

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    3. It doesn't say to celebrate. It just says to stop mourning.

      In the link from the Seforim Blog brought in the post above it mentions that the first place that a simcha is mentioned relating to lag baomer is in Pri Eitz Chaim which was printed in the 18th century but not in relation to Rasbi's death.

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    4. So why should they have stopped mourning? If the deaths stopped, the morning should have ended on 40th day of the omer (at the latest)?

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    5. Pri chadash asks R Leiman's question.

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    6. Moshe Dovid,
      The entire concept of mourning during sefira was likely based upon the crusades. The geonim only spoke about removing simcha. The death of the students of Rebbe Akiva was not going to be used as a cause for permanent mourning.

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    7. They stopped dying because they were all dead!!

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  3. Regarding the Hatam Sofer's ban on "creating new hagim"-what exactly does this mean? Although I pretty much agree with your view of Lag B'Omer, all people really do is get together and have a party. There is no saying Hallel or any other type ceremony, so I am not sure this is what the Hatam Sofer was referring to. What about Yom Ha'Atzmaut where we DO say Hallel? Many say a miracle was involved in this but if we consider the miracle to be the victory in the War of Independence, that occurred over time and not on one particular day. If you hold like Rav Yoel Bin-Nun, that the real miracle consisted of opening the gates of Eretz Israel to all Jews, and that, of course, did happen on that day, but would the Hatam Sofer accept that reasoning?

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    1. What about Yom Ha'Atzmaut where we DO say Hallel?

      Exactly. Although I would say "where dati leumi (no all!) say Hallel".

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    2. Why does a miracle have to happen over the course of only one day?

      The purim story happened over a very long period of time. They chose a particular day/days to celebrate and commemorate it.
      Hanukkah didn't happen over 1 day either, but of course you'll tell me the 8 day festival is a precise commemoration of an 8-day oil miracle over the same exact days on the calendar, whether I agree with that or not, so just focus on my first example.

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    3. "There is no saying Hallel or any other type ceremony, so I am not sure this is what the Hatam Sofer was referring to. "

      Going up on a bama, slaughtering animals, dancing round a bonfire, performing special magical rites, pilgrimage, fire rituals. Is this really so hard to grasp? All this kind of stuff and the proper way to deal with it is described at length in the Tanach. If "Orthodox" Jews ever bothered to open it, they might find it quite enlightening.

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  4. Brooklyn Refugee SheygitzMay 18, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    I'm with Yoel Keren on this
    I believe that the Chasam Sofer was dealing with the RSBY yahrtzeit aspects of the day and the celebrations at Meron. Not the "students of rebbe Akiva stopped dying" aspects of the day (which are really "chazal code " for things connected to the Bar Kochba rebellion (as are the bonfires, the bows and arrows and all the rest...)

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  5. Actually, Robert, the question was if there is "evidence that anyone at all celebrated Lag B'Omer before the 17th century". Obviously nobody thinks that there is a chiyuv to make a bonfire. Secondly, the Rambam is the Rambam and the Meiri is the Merir. One doesn't invalidate the other

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  6. What about the history of bonfires on Lag B'Omer? How old this that custom and what is its origins?

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    1. The two main kiruv organizations have several articles on the festival, seem to more or less agree on the symbolic or mystical meanings behind the fire, which they stress as the soutce for the custom, connecting it to the revelation of the Zohar by Shimon Bar Yochai , but gloss over the dating. Aish mentions "hundreds of years;" Chabad merely says its customary and "traditional" :

      From Aish:

      Fire. With dancing, leaping, flashing tongues of flame, fire lights up the Lag B'Omer night sky. Jews light bonfires to commemorate the holiday, continuing a tradition that dates back hundreds of years. Lag B'Omer is the day on which Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai revealed the chief mystical work, the Zohar, through an explosion of fire, and it is the day on which he died. (http://www.aish.com/h/o/33o/48971116.html)

      From Chabad:

      •It is traditional to light bonfires on Lag BaOmer eve. These commemorate the immense light that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai introduced into the world via his mystical teachings. This was especially true on the day of his passing, Lag BaOmer, when he revealed to his disciples secrets of the Torah whose profundity and intensity the world had yet to experience. The Zohar relates that the house was filled with fire and intense light, to the point that the assembled could not approach or even look at Rabbi Shimon. (http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/679431/jewish/Customs-Traditions.htm)

      There is also a "modern" or Religious Zionist interpretation which claims that the day commemorates the deaths of Bar Kochba's warriors and that the bonfires represent the signal fires they used to light on hilltops to warn of approaching enemies. They also connect the tradition of archery games to the uprising, whereas others give mystical reasons for tha custom. Temujin read about that a while back and doesn't have the links. One has also been unable to find anything specific to show that Lag b'Omer fires or the festival itself go back before the 17th century.

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  7. I'm trying to locate a Geonic source stating milhama (battle) as opposed to mahala (plaque) ie a textual variant.

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    1. Its in igeret sherira hagaon.he states shamda. R. Moshe Israel hazzan has a beautiful teshuba on why its the original girsa

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  8. 1) An earlier source than the printing error in Pri Etz Chaim is the Chemdat HaYamim of 1730 (the printing error is from the 1780s). Admittedly this is a possible Sabbatean source, but he potentially got it from somewhere.

    2) Even according to the correct reading of the Pri Etz Chaim, the day is described as the day that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was "samach". In Zohar 3:287, at the beginning of the section called Idra Zuta, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is described multiple times as being happy because he is giving over his deepest teachings on this day, the day he is going to die. Accordingly, it could be that even according to the Arizal, the day that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was "samach" was the day he died. The correct girsa thus might refer to his yahrzeit, too.

    This likely is not relevant to the historical facts, but it still might mean that Lag BaOmer's being Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai's yahrzeit is based on the Arizal's opinion, not just a printing error. (Then again, the day he was samach might refer to something else entirely - but at least the celebrations potentially are based on a teaching of the Arizal, rather than on a printer's mistake.)

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  9. If you were "rationalist," what would you learn about the continued development and popularity of this holiday despite all the problems you raise and despite the great ease for even the average person to learn of these problems in the modern age? Religion is not "rationalist." "Rationalist Judaism" is quite irrational. Developments in the past few hundred years can be debunked. Developments from the uber-rational era of three thousand years ago are sacrosanct. Very rational.

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  10. The Maharil already mentions a minhag not to say Tachanun- long before the 17th century.

    Shmuli

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  11. Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 493:2
    Mechaber: The students of R’ Akiva did not stop dying until the 34th of the Omer. Haircuts are not permitted until the morning of the 34th. (According to the Mechaber, the 33rd has no significance whatsoever.)
    Rema: They stopped dying on the 33rd. We may take haircuts on that day and “marbim bi k’zat simchah” (Maharil).
    Beur Halachah (Chafetz Chaim) brings a third opinion: The students continued to die until Shavuos. Nevertheless, on one of the days the aveilus is reduced for part of the day, and the 33rd of the Omer was chosen ”maybe for some reason (Pri Megadim).
    “Maybe for some reason”
    Either the Pri Megadim and the Chafetz Chaim hold that Lag Ba’omer was not Rashbi’s yahrzeit or that that it is not a reason to reduce aveilus!

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  12. Man, I even tried google searching for the cache version of the site and couldn't find the posts or the hundreds of comments. Did anyone archive it on their computer.

    Meanwhile many will cite traditionalism as the reason to be against yom haatzmaut (ie making up new yom tov if they deny the events were miraculous) and we "hold like so and so" about that day, yet have no qualms with lag bomer or its bonfire celebrations and consider it kadosh kidoshim.

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  13. 1. As a matter of fact, the Chatam Sofer's objection to new holidays is used by those who oppose Yom HaAtzmaut.

    2. As for the Zohar, while its halachic authority is a matter of dispute, as is the general place of Kabbala in pesak, its aggadic authority is accepted even by rationalists such as Rav Soloveichik (who did have academic training although having academic training does not make one more knowledgeable than one who has yeshiva training - this is also a dogmatic attitude). IF Rabbi Moshe deLeon edited it (as Rav Aviner once said) that does not mean that Rashbi did not author it any more than the fact that Rav Kook's books were edited by Rav Tzvi Yehuda and the Nazir means that Rav Kook did not author them.

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  14. If we celebrate Lag ba-Omer because it is Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai's yahrzeit and for his authorship of the Zohar, in which this fact is considered highly questionable by many. We therefore should more so be celebrating the yahrzeit of Moshe Rabbeinu in whom there is no doubt for being responsible for conveying to us the Torah.
    o

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  15. Why do people need to be such party poppers? Its one thing if you hold its not Rashbi's yartzeit, but why not have an excuse to have a good time. Also, I have been to Meiron a few times for L'BO and the achdus is incredible. You will find every type of Jew there. You frequently write about how the dati leumi care more about Am Yisrael. Put your money where your mouth is and celebrate with other Jews!

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    1. Right, it's achdus when the na na nach loons show up and all the knitted kippot come around, even though you blast them in your yeshivas for their behaviors and beliefs routinely, but Yom haatzmaut at the kotel, that's not achdus right? Cause it's only achdus when different-hatted Jews are joining the celebrations ordained by MY brand of rabbis.

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    2. At the kosel on yom haatzmaut there are only nationalists, no leftist no charedim no chassidim. Whereas, Lag baomer in meron has a real cross-section of שומרי תורה ומצוות. For those who want to see achdus, meron would seem to be a better choice.
      Of course, nothing is as good as staying home, on both non-holidays.

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    3. Maybe you've never gone. I've seen haredim there. Or do you apply the no true scotsman fallacy in such a case? I think leftists were there too.

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    4. Having good time dancing around a golden calf. There is hardly a more despicable spectacle then הינגה במימון.

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    5. The point of commenter "but really now" is that the yeshivish PR folks love to talk about achdus when it concerns one of their own events. Like at the siyum hashas, they are always careful to include pictures of a few srugim in attendance. But they're not too keen on the notion of achdus when it concerns a mizrachi event, ie, a yom haastzmaut celebration. Then all of a sudden they have "religious" excuses why they cant make it.

      He's right of course, but the gross hypocrisy of that world is old news.

      Wazer

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  16. The Chasam Sofer is against normative halocho anyway. The Chayei Odom disagrees. The Tosfos Yom Tov made a Yom Tov for his descendants etc. I am not justifying this new post-holocaust 'minhag' of lag baomer, especially fires, which seem pagan to me. Afaik, no chassidim celebrated in Europe, and by fortiori no misnagdim. I have reason to believe,however, that the clubs that sprouted between the wars in eastern Europe conducted activities for children. Chaim shapiro mentions it in 'once upon a shtetl'. If my memory does not fail me, Yaakov Lifshitz does not mention it in his romanticized version of life in the shtetl in the mid-1800s.

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    1. This is from the book "HaYom Yom", a compendium of Chassidic aphorisms, anecdotes and customs arranged according to the day of the year, compiled by the last Lubavitcher Rebbe:
      (from www.chabad.org/dailystudy/hayomyom.asp?tdate=5/18/2014)
      "Lag Ba'Omer was one of the Mitteler Rebbe's (son of the Ba'al haTanya, who was Rebbe from 1814-1828) particularly noteworthy festivals. He and the Chassidim would go out to the fields that day, and although he did not wash and break bread, he did partake of mashkeh (strong drink), which he was not allowed to do for health reasons. Many wonders were seen at that time, most of them involving the blessing of children for childless couples - and all year long people waited for Lag Ba'Omer."

      So they clearly celebrated Lag Ba'Omer in Eastern Europe.

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  17. Fascinating link about the Zohar. I manage to agree with the vast majority of the detailed analysis while disagreeing with the thrust in which he attempts to distinguish a bad kabbalistic strand of ritualism from the Talmudic kommea etc which he presumably accepts. Both Halacha and Kabbala have been borrowing from non Jewish sources and innovating internally for centuries so the whole lack of mesorah argument doesn't terrify me particularly in and of itself. I take a teological approach to such innovations.

    As an aside I would be very interested if anyone could explain why the ari wasn't persecuted for his brand of ritual in the way that others such as abullafia were.

    Lag baoemer as a

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    1. Good question Moniker. One reason maybe that Rabbi Abraham Abulafia apparently was not proficient in Gemara, unlike the Ari.

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  18. Well it also likely kills people.

    "ממחקרים שנעשו בתחום, נמצא, כי חלה עלייה בשכיחות הפונים ל-חדר מיון בסמיכות להחמרה הזמנית ב’איכות האוויר’ עקב מדורות ל"ג בעומר"
    http://www.kan-naim.co.il/artical.asp?id=18499&cid=575

    Yes, I know people are going to say what about the Korbanos etc.

    That's מצותו בכך and just like wars which have an inherent danger. Also there you have לא הפילה אישה מריח בשר הקודש.

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  19. The sources cited in this post are of interest in gaining perspective on the current celebration of Lag Ba'Omer as the supposed yahrzeit of R' Shimon bar Yochai, the supposed author of the Zohar - with the celebration centered at Meiron, the supposed burial place of said Tanna. While the long essay by a self-styled Hareidi is more polemical than scholarly, it brings out various problems in maintaining the authorship of the Zohar by someone living in 2nd century Palestine. By the way, the video in the cited articles by Prof. Marc Shapiro appears to be of that anonymous Hareidi (at least he uses the wording of that essay) Of interest, also, is the latter's testimony that he had addressed his issues with the Zohar with various prominent Hareidi figures (he only uses an initial to identify them). Most of them, in his testimony, agreed that it was permissible to ascribe the actual composition of the book to later authors. Some even considered that obvious. The Hareidi critic of the Zohar, however, devoted little space to theological problems with the Zohar, a matter of greater import, it seems to me, than to demonstrate that the author(s) got their history and geography of 2nd century Palestine wrong. It's one thing to understand that R' Shimon b' Yochai could not have written the text of the Zohar, it's quite another to reject it's entire theological exposition. There is a long essay on the latter subject that I believe was cited by R' Natan some years ago.

    Y. Aharon

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  20. I've read somewhere that there may be sketchy details behind the plague with Rabbi Akiva's students. Apparently it wasn't a known minhag until the Geonim that day 33 was when they stopped dying.

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  21. hey there Mashchit HaSatan why did you carefully write you post so that you left out the important point that would give context to this side point you are making- - that no baalei hamesorah ever claimed ( out of over 1000 of them or many more ? ) that denying that RSHBY wrote the zohar was kefirah or episkursus or something like that. Furthermore why did you carefully leave out the important point that would give context to another side point you are making- - all chareidi gedolim now say that the Zohar is authoritative Torah and to deny is some category of kefira or apikorsus or somethign of that sort.

    I think that the reason to didnt smooth out the topic is because you have serious mental problems and obsession and anger and you need medicine by the ton while you try to recover from your breakdown from a half a dozen or so years ago

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    1. There is no need to insult people just because they disagree with you. I know that is often done in Charedi circles because it is much easier just to denigrate someone instead of having to think (G-d forbid) about his arguments. That may work with the followers because they are trained not to think critically about anything but it will not work with anyone with an ounce of rationality.

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    2. You had to take a swipe at "Charedi circles", didn't you? That's not as bad as what Narcissist said, but that's heading down the same road.

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  22. A few points: (a) perhaps we should stop saying Hayom Haras Olom on RH because we now know that the world was not created on RH - nor was it 'created' on any other 'day' for that matter. (B) The Zohar speaks of Lag BaOmer as being the day that Rashbi designated for joy etc and the Arizal held it was his yartzeit as did many kabbalists so that has become the day. It is true that CS wasn't enamoured with the idea but many kabbalists and poskim were and as Rabbi Zevin writes the bonfires in which they burnt expensive garments etc were supported by great rabbis. It does not need to be your cup of tea but its an accepted trend supported by many greats over the last few centuries (C) the authority of the zohar in matters of halachah and custom is a fact. Whoever wrote the zohar, the fact that all rationalists Jews in Israel don't put on Tefillin on Chol HaMoed can be attributed to the influence of the zohar.

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    1. " the fact that all rationalists Jews in Israel don't put on Tefillin on Chol HaMoed ."

      WRONG!

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    2. An RAF Bomber Command expression from WW II popped-up in Temujin's mind: "If you're not catching flak, you're not over the target." Odd.

      Btw, another thing that popped-up is that the burning of goods and garments, especially expensive garments, is a traditional Animist practice of the Norse and the Slavs...as in sending "necessities" with the deceased for his "use and honour in the after-world" that was de rigueur with Christians in parts of Eastern Europe. Strange that this was "supported by great rabbis," as you say, apparently right at the time when other Pagan customs and bubemeisen, like the schluessel challah and scores of magical rites and superstitions were being picked up by pseudo-messianic kabbalists from their Christian peasant neighbours. Perhaps Temujin is wrong and you can provide a source for the authentic "Jewishness" of this custom from older Jewish sources?

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    3. a) According to R' Yehoshua, the world was created in Nissan. Not that "Haras" means created.
      b) R' Ovadiah Yosef, z"l, fought to keep Kabbalah out of Halacha

      Point being, there are many things that people think are set in stone and agreed to by everyone. But it is far from being that simple.

      Even R' Slifkin, who strives for truth and consistency in every endeavor, will agree that Yiddishkeit is far from consistent. But at least people should understand that if someone casts aspersions about other people based on philosophical position X, and then turns around and ignores philosophical position X because it's something that "everyone does" ... it is human, but it is not Emes.

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    4. Lot's of people still put Tefillin on Chol HaMoed, both in Israel and Chu"L.

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    5. re point (a):
      How do we know it wasn't created on a day. What would qualify as a 'day' and what wouldn't? You don't explain.

      Anyway <a href="http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14319&st=&pgnum=538&hilite=>here</a> Ran says, beginning of wide lines, that creation, which took longer than one day, ENDED on Rosh Hashana; i.e. after the luminaries and everything else, including 'time' as we know it, were fully functioning.

      Is this incompatible with what 'we now know'?

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    6. TZ RBSA

      HaCohen, I am a rationalist Jew who actually learned the sugya of tefillin on hol'moed.

      Forget about rationalism - the TRUTH is that all Jews wore tefillin on hol'moed before the advent of the Zohar (see the Beit Yosef on it) - so, basically, the Zohar came and changed a major, normative halacha.

      For you risk takers out there - enjoy wearing no tefilling on hol-moed - explain to HaShem how you were m'batel a major mitzvot aseh because you believed in the "great rabbis".

      I, for one, will stick to the authentic mesorah - after all, if we can start changing normative halacha based on sudden, private revelations like the Zohar, then what separates us from all the goyim and their "privately revealed" religions?

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    7. "After all, if we can start changing normative halacha based on sudden, private revelations like the Zohar, then what separates us from all the goyim and their "privately revealed" religions?"

      For what it's worth, the goyim changed some of the ultimate basics of Judaism while the 'privately revealed' zohar 'only' changed some Halachah.

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    8. Also, the Beis Yosef is using the Zohar to decide in which way to tip the scales in an existing machlokes--that's quite different from someone rejecting standard practice based on "G-d having spoken to him".

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    9. Little side point on היום הרת עולם: the phrase seems to be taken from Yirmiyah 20:17 and in context clearly means "pregnant forever". So the poet may be using the phrase figuratively to mean "today is full of infinite possibilities", or some similar sentiment, rather than "today the world was born."
      Then again, it's not like we've ever known any paytanim to take words out of context. Just see Iyov 3:17.

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  23. In response to C: There are a handful of Yekkish and Hungarian kehillos in Eretz Yisroel that ignore the Zohar and the Gra and do wear Tefillin on Chol Hamoed. I am a rationalist Jew myself a member of one of these shuls.

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  24. Rabbi Slifkin: I am not certain why you posted "Narcissist's" vulgar and disgusting comment, unless it was to show the malign nature some of your critics.

    Lawrence Kaplan

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  25. You query a source for Lag Bomer celebrations from before 17th century.
    Perhaps you forgot the Rema in O"C 493 that "marbim ktas b'mishte v,simcha. I would suggest before posting on a worldwide forum - on a blog read by thousands of irreligious jews it would perhaps be more responsible to check things up first with your local rabbi.
    Don't get me wrong, your doing a great job in other areas, however to me it seems a bit irresponsible to lecture on a topic where you evidently did not bother to open up a shulchan oruch beforehand

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  26. Did you see the Log B'omer celebration in your home country?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plTvPUStYLw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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  27. I didn't realize the issue of Tefillin on Hol HaMo'ed is a kabbalistic one...I was under the impression that the question was whether Hol HaMo'ed is an "ot" (sign) like Shabbat and Yom Tov or not....a pure halachic issue.

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    1. http://machonshilo.org/en/eng/list-audio-shiurim/35-hagim/320-wearing-tphilllin-during-hol-hamoedh-the-intermediate-days-of-the-festival

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  28. For all who are interested in the eradication of עבודה זרה on this Godly day of Lag BaOmer: the word "האלוקי" as in "האלוקי רבי שמעון בר יוחאי" is pronounced "Ha-Eh-Lo-Kee"; not "Ha-Eh-Lo-Kai." The former means "the Godly" and the latter means "My god." It is a very interesting phenomenon when words cease having meaning to people celebrating the life of the person who passed on to us the secret of understanding what it means that God created the world with words . . .

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