What is it about the holiday of Log B'Omer that attracts a half million Jews of all types from all over the world to make the long pilgrimage to the gravesite of Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochie every year on the anniversary of his death?
Rebbe Shimon was a sage who lived about about 2,000 years ago. Most of the people who come to sing and dance with us in Meron know nothing about him or his teachings and yet they are drawn to come. Why?
It is for the same reason that throughout history thousands of Jews who weren't even "religious" willingly gave up their lives for their religion rather than submit to a forced conversion.
It is for the same reason that although secular Jews might not keep Shabbas or most of the other holidays such as Passover, Succos and Shavuous. Almost all Jews regardless of their level of observance light a menara on Chanukah.
This phenomena of lighting Chanukah menoras at a time when 95% of their neighbors of another religion are lighting up their homes and trees with different kinds of decorations takes courage. The reason they do this mitzvah more than others is because on Chanukah the Greeks were not interested in destroying the Jewish people, what they wanted was to destroy our religion.
The reason that there will be 500,000 Jews of all stripes in Meron Israel tonight is because Rebbe Shimon's soul, like the holiday of Chanuka ignites in all Jewish souls a powerful fire and wish to be connected to Hashem and preserve Judaism at all costs.
May all your prayers be answered, speedily. Amen.
Dr. Zev Ballen