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.
Like for the rest of Klal Yisrael, the soulful tunes of Meron never fail to uplift me. Although I’ve had only one opportunity to sing in Meron on Lag B’omer, I sing many of the songs year-round at chasunahs. One Meron song I often sing is actually not one of the classics, but a Yiddish song named “Reb Shimon,” from the L’Chayim album Dos Yiddishe Hartz. The lyrics describe a childless couple’s pained tefillos in Meron and their subsequent joyous visit for their little son’s chalakah. It’s a very touching song that taps into the hope and longing of all those who come to Meron.
I’ve started a recent tradition to sing this song on Motzaei Shabbos at the annual A TIME shabbaton. At the heart of this precedent is a story that dates back to the organization’s first years. A TIME took a group of couples on a trip to Meron where, after hours of earnest tefillah, they broke into dance. Suddenly, an older man appeared and started pulling people into the center, dancing with them separately. Somebody was keen enough to take note of the people he danced with and found that by the end of the year, each of them had had a yeshuah.
—Musical artist ISAAC HONIG
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 809)