Sources for Chai Rotel Mashke on Lag B’Omer
The segulah and the purpose for Chai Rotel is to fulfill the Holy Tanna’s wish by contributing to the joy and happiness of Lag B'Omer by providing the necessities for the visitors coming to Meron.
“Chai Rotel Mashke”? What is it?
The centuries old segulah passed from generation to generation, and found in the holy seforim.
“Chai Rotel” is an ancient measurement. Chai Rotel i.e. 18, equates approximately to 54 liters. It is the traditional distribution of refreshments to the thousands of people who flock to Meron on Lag B’Omer.
There are many well-founded sources for this powerful segulah. Many great rabbis spoke about the power of Chai Rotel and lauded the practice of chai rotel and spoke about the many miracles attributed to the segulah.
The Kdushat Tzion of Bobov, Rebbe Ben Zion Halberstam, the great grandfather of the current Bobver Rebbe wrote the following letter to his disciple living in E. Israel about the greatness of Chai Rotel Mashka. (Tamai Haminhagim, Page 263)
I was requested by one of my congregants on a very highly matter. He had heard from the elders of Jerusalem that it is the custom for those who do not have children to donate Chai Rotel (18 liters) drink on the day of celebration on Lag B’Omer on the grave site of the holy Tana Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai. That is why I am appointing you a messenger to remember the couple, Meir the son of Chiya Lea with his wife, Sara the daughter of Sheindel. That the Lord shall bless them with children quickly and without any difficulty. And you shall promise for them Chai Rotel drink as is the custom. When the Lord will fulfill their dream quickly, they are ready to pay their debt with joy. With this I am blessing you with joy and happiness. May you merit living in the Holy Land in peace, quite and with assurance.
Ben Zion Halberstam”
Rabeinu Ovadya M’bartenura (the famous explanation ‘Bartenura’ on the Mishnayot) wrote a letter to his brother 500 years ago in the year 5249: “On the eighteenth day of Iyar, the day of the yarzheit of Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai, the “Rashbi”, people from surrounding areas gather and light huge bonfires aside from lighting candles. Many barren women have been helped and sick have been healed when they made a promise and donation for this holy site.”
Printed Hilula D’Rashbi page 89.
The Shalah HaKodosh writes in the year 5388 where he describes his travels in Eretz Yisroel as follows: “And at the tomb of Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai, they learn Zohar with awe and fear and longing because many miracles have happened there. And afterwards they make promises and pray.”
Printed in Hilula D’Rashbi page 60
In his sefer, Tel Yerushalayim, Rabbi Yehudah Leib Hornstein of blessed memory, a great sage in Jerusalem, wrote about two childless couples who were finally blessed with a child after they supplied Chai Rotel to guests at Rabbi Shimon's kever in Miron on Lag Ba'omer.