Sources & Philosophy

Uri Elitzur

A Strong Tradition

Yediot Aharonot, 2001

A strong tradition without it being written anywhere

There is no mention of Lag Ba’Omer, neither in the Mishnah or the Gemarah, the scriptures or the writings of the sages. Every child knows the legend about the thousands of Rabbi Akiva’s pupils who died and the plague ceasing on Lag Ba’Omer, but anyone who takes the trouble to study it will find nothing written, neither about Lab Ba’Omer, nor that the plague ceased, and not what sort of plague there had been, if at all.  Nevertheless this tradition is very strong, and there is no doubt that it is very ancient. The western, intelligent and modern minds will ridicule it: how can people continue to do something after they have forgotten why they are doing it. But I specifically like it. There is some kind of transmission encoded with a secret code which has been passed on to us for almost two thousand years. And we, like a wireless operator at a relay station, will continue to transmit it onwards to the next station without understanding what is written there, until it reaches the man or the generation who need to receive the message and decipher the code.

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