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Lag Ba’Omer Bar Yochai III

“Bar Yochai! In a goodly dwelling did you settle on the day you ran, the day you fled, In rocky caves where you stopped – there you acquired your majesty and splendor.” The Romans condemned Rabbi Shimon to death because he criticized all their accomplishments as selfish. He had to flee with his son Rav Eliezer to a cave in the Galil, where he remained for thirteen years. God provided them with a carob tree and a spring of fresh water. Rabbi Shimon and his son were able in their “Goodly Dwelling” to concentrate solely on their Torah without any distractions, and achieved unimaginable levels of learning that were his “majesty and splendor.”

“On the day you ran, the day you fled.” The redundancy is to remind us that Rabbi Shimon’s “run” paralleled Moshe having to flee from Pharaoh. We recall this shared experience because just as Moshe taught the Revealed Torah, Rabbi Shimon taught us the Hidden Torah.

There actually is another hint to Moshe in this paragraph: “Moshav Tov,” “A Goodly dwelling,” reminds us that “Tov” refers to Moshe. (Menachot 53b) The Talmud (Sotah 12a) teaches immediately upon birth it was visible that Moshe was “Tov” because the entire house filled with Light, the first thing described in the Torah as “Tov” – “And the Lord saw the light, that is was good.”

The Light of creation and the light of Moshe was the Treasured Light (Zohar, Volume 2 187b) which also permeated Rabbi Shimon, who had a “Spark” of Moshe’s soul. In fact, the Midrash says, “Let there be light,” hints of Moshe, “And there was light,” hints to Rabbi Shimon.

Rabbi Shimon lived in that Treasured Light and was therefore able to reveal so much of it in his teachings.

“In the rocky caves.” It was in a cave that God revealed His Thirteen Attributes of Mercy to Moshe. The Zohar (Idra, Nasso 132b) says that the Thirteen were a constant presence in Rabbi Shimon’s cave.

The Ari Hakodesh taught, (Sefer Hilula Rabbah, Page 60) that Rabbi Shimon’s cave was the same cave.

“There you acquired your majesty and splendor.” “Gird your sword upon your thigh, O mighty one, your majesty and splendor.” (Psalms 45:4) This is the Majesty and Strength granted to those who toil in Torah. (Midrash Socher Tov, Psalms 104)

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