he usual throngs won’t be heading to Meron this Lag B’omer, but Rabi Shimon bar Yochai’s power of salvation is surely still potent, wherever a Yid will find himself on 18 Iyar. While everyone knows someone with a miracle story, we asked a selection of entertainers — who are especially attached to the simchah of the day and the reprieve of music in the middle of Sefirah — about Rabi Shimon and their personal yeshuah.
Our choir sang on Beri Weber’s hit “Rabi Shimon ben Yochai omer… ki lo sishochach mipi zaro” music video. It’s definitely a great song, composed by Pinky Weber, but even so, its success — millions of hits — was unexpected. I couldn’t understand it — how many Jewish music fans are out there already?
This past winter, I was in Moscow where our choir, together with Beri Weber, sang at the wedding of the daughter of Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar. There were thousands of people at that wedding — it seemed like all of Moscow’s Jews came out to celebrate the chasunah. One Jew came over to me and wanted to speak about the Rabi Shimon song. He told me that he’d lived in Russia his entire life, and never had the opportunity to go to Eretz Yisrael, but he nurtured an inner longing to experience the holiness of Meron. When he needs a yeshuah, he said, he opens up the video of “Ki Lo Sishochach,” and he begins to sing and pray. That fellow taught me that hundreds of thousands of people have a corner in their hearts for Rabi Shimon. And some of them even get regards through this song.
—PINCHAS BICHLER, Malchus Choir
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 809)