An amazing Lag B'Omer story in Meron
An amazing story is recounted in "Hilulah De'Rashbi" (pg. 63): "I personally witnessed a miraculous and wondrous event in Meron, Lag Ba'Omer 5683 (1923).
That year Lag B'Omer fell on a Thursday night-Friday. Many of the celebrants elected to stay on for Shabbat, knowing that the holy day emerging out of Lag B'Omer in the presence of Rebbe Shimon would be an extraordinarily exalted occasion. Friday evening everyone prayed together, and the holiness and joy of the Shabbat spirit was palpable.
Early Shabbat morning, as soon as the first streaks of light infiltrated the sky, the people returned to the tomb site for the sunrise minyan. Afterwards, the happy singing of the earlier arrivals left no doubt that the spirit of Shabbat joy was continuing to expand with each passing moment.
But then, a loud bitter wail shattered the shimmering atmosphere of Shabbat joy. A little boy, who had come with his mother for his first haircut, had unaccountably fallen sick and stopped breathing. Aid was given, but to no avail. He was dead, and his broken mother was screaming uncontrollably. All the women around her were crying too.
The word spread quickly. Almost instantaneously, melancholy gloom replaced the exuberant rejoicing. The singing stopped, the dancers froze; the mother's loud cries pierced every heart.
Before they could recover from their shock, a further development struck. The British Mandate police assigned to keep order suddenly, without any warning, locked the gates of the courtyard. They then announced that they were forced to take this precaution because maybe the disease that had struck down the hapless child was highly contagious, and they were obligated to do everything possible to prevent it from proliferating.
Pandemonium spread. Many families were divided by the padlocked gate; numerous little children were cut off from their parents. Masses of Jews were being prevented from reaching Rebbe Shimon on the day of his celebration.
The stunned Jews still inside pushed closer to the tomb site, to express their crushed hearts in fervent prayer. Suddenly the crowd rippled, and like at the Splitting of the Red Sea, a clear path miraculously opened. The grieving mother was staggering determinedly towards the place of Rebbe Shimon, carrying her lifeless son in her arms. The distraught mother came up to the tomb. She placed her son on the ground. In a quivering voice she spoke out through her tears, "Oy! Tzadik! I, your humble maidservant, came here to honor you. Only you know that in bringing my son here to you, I was fulfilling the vow I made on this spot four years ago, before I merited to be a mother for the first time. Yesterday we inaugurated him with joy and song in the mitzvah of leaving peyot. And now, woe is me! How can I go home without my son!?"
The mother stopped crying. She straightened up and took a deep breath. In a firm clear voice, she pronounced: "Rebbe Shimon! I have laid my son on the ground next to you, dead. Please do not disappoint me. Return my son to me alive and healthy as he was when I brought him here to you. 'Yitgadal v'yitkadash shmei rabbah' – “Exalted and blessed is His great name”, and also the name of Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai. Everyone knows that you are holy and He, our G-d, is holy. Please give me back my son!" She stopped speaking, and exited the structure built around the tomb. Every other person present followed her out. They closed the door after them, leaving the deceased child behind, unattended.
A few minutes passed. From inside, behind the closed doors, a weak voice was heard. "Mommy, water. I'm so thirsty."
Everyone stood as if paralyzed, trembling with conflicting emotions of fear and disbelief, of shock and delight. The mother burst through the doors and swept up her child into her arms. Everyone ran in and surrounded them, and spontaneously burst out with overflowing hearts, "Blessed is He who enlivens the dead!"
The bewildered British quickly re-opened the courtyard gates. The throngs of Jews impatiently standing outside streamed back in. When they heard about the great miracle that had just taken place, the thanksgiving and celebration multiplied sevenfold.
The sound of their enthusiastic singing of the most popular "Bar Yochai" song (composed by the Kabbalist, Rabbi Shimon Labia approximately 450 years ago) could be heard for miles around - and, no doubt, penetrated to the highest heavens, including the celestial abode of Rebbe Shimon.
"Bar Yochai, nimshachta ashrecha, shemen sasson meihavarecha" - "Bar Yochai, fortunate are you, anointed with joyous oil over and above your companions."
Miracles in Meron
The kabbalist Rabbi Asher Zelig Margulies writes in his book "Hilulah De'Rashbi (page 52): "The acts of G-d I will relate. Around twenty years ago, the G-dly kabbalist Rabbi Chaim Saul Davik received a letter from the Diaspora, requesting assistance, as the local ruler was causing trouble for the Jews. Rabbi Davik travelled to Meron with twenty of his disciples, remaining there for five days, each day circling the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai holding the four species used that Sukkot. Upon returning to Jerusalem, a telegram was waiting, relaying the glad tidings that the wicked ruler had met a sudden death. The Jews greatly rejoiced and celebrated the miraculous deliverance from their enemies.
The sick are healed
The following is an excerpt from the book "Gedulat Joshua".
One year, a famous millionaire paid ten thousand "Zehubim", an astronomical amount of money, for the right to kindle the fire. The massive crowd then began to dance and sing, in their great fervor not taking notice of the tremendous pressure.
The millionaire, who was standing on the roof, was inadvertently pushed and fell down to the courtyard, breaking both legs. His fall, however, went unnoticed by the crowd above, which was completely taken up by the celebrations. He lay there, writhing in pain, till someone walking through the courtyard hard him calling for assistance. He lifted the injured man into one of the adjacent rooms and went to call a doctor.
Meron of those times, however, did not have a single doctor, and the only option was to travel by horse and cart to the neighboring village, which took many hours, and when they finally returned to Meron, it was already well into the night.
Upon entering the room, they were startled to see it totally empty. They anxiously began searching for the patient, only to find him, to their utter amazement, dancing enthusiastically in the middle of the crowd. Pulling him over to the side they asked what had transpired, "I was laying on the floor, unable to move", he told them.
"Suddenly the holy Tanna, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, appeared, and said: Great happiness came about through you today, in my honor. Therefore it is my obligation to make you happy and to heal you". He then placed his holy hands on my broken legs. Immediately I was totally cured, and stood on my feet, joining the crowd dancing in honor of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.