As we did with Rabbi Akiva, here’s a tweet storm we did for Lag BaOmer 2019 all about the life and teachings of the great Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. These all began as tweets that we gathered here as a collection of short learning, info and ideas. Some will require some background explanation but for now here are the crisp terse tweets on their own:
One of #RabbiAkiva’s 5 primary students (remaining after 24K students died in a plague), who in turn were teachers of “Rebbi” Judah the Prince, editor of the #Mishna (skeletal written text of Torah’s Oral Tradition), #RabbiShimonBarYochai is also known for his mystical tradition.
In the #Mishna, #RabbiShimonBarYochai (aka #Rashbi or Rabbi Shimon) often argues with Rabbi Yehudah. In many (unrelated) issues, R’ Shimon trends towards intent, while R’ Yehudah focuses on action.
While #RabbiShimonBarYochai might not have been your go-to-Rabbi, he’s certainly one to rely on when push comes to shove (as Talmud describes). Our generation is more of the time-of-need, push-comes-to-shove, so we need #Rashbi more than ever.
#Rashbi was 1-knot type, all comes together & summed up by ultimate connection. Known for “Torah was his craft” rare even for his generation, his total & utter devotion to study & spiritual pursuit at expense of all other endeavors. Don’t try this at home! Not meant for most!
#RabbiShimonBarYochai (& son)’s worldly escape into the cave refuge for spiritual growth of 12+ years is contrasted by the difference between their 1st & 2nd returns to worldly life & engagement. 1st was a dangerous disappointment, the 2nd was an embracing uplift for #Rashbi.
#Rashbi affected the world differently than most. Instead of direct engagement, his study was so inward it was a form of prayer without asking, even at distant remove ever more penetrative. Even as an esoteric idealistic mystic #RabbiShimonbarYochai asked: What needs fixing?
Before his passing on #LagBaomer (or #LagBOmer) he asked that the day of his passing be celebrated, not mourned. Instead of a soul-flame of a yartzeit (anniversary of a passing) candle, big bonfires are lit for this incredibly fiery soul whose light still illuminates our world.
#Rebbe insists however lofty the mystic, the more connected to reality, as highest & lowest are connected. I once wrote how this may explain #Rashbi’s enigmatic compromise at end of tractate Bava Metziah in the case of upper/lower garden & why the king was so enthused by this.
#RabbiShimonBarYochai was early example of uncompromising unwavering dedication to (exceeding) highest personal standards, along with empathetic understanding, tolerance and appreciative acceptance of others without any expectation of such standards.
#RabbiShimonBarYochai’s question (as Yavne student) re obligatory status of evening prayer caused Talmud’s most famous rabbinic impeachment, the removal of Rabban Gamliel after his thrice-humiliation of Rabbi Joshua.
His best known teaching in #Avot is: #RabbiShimonBarYochai says there are 3 Crowns: Torah, Priesthood, & Royalty but the crown of a good name surpasses them all. Even as a mystic & scholar he recognized the great value of being appreciated by others, #Rashbi was no elitist.
In the #Zohar many #Rashbi’s teachings are described as “#RabbiShimonBarYochai OPENED” instead of typical SAID as he opened new frontiers, new opportunities and possibilities!
#Carob is associated with #RabbiShimonBarYochai because it sustained him & son R’ Elazar all their years in the cave hiding from the Romans.
#LagBaOmer is considered an opportune time for blessings for infertility, based on Talmud story where #Rashbi helped a couple avoid divorce.
Similar to #RabbiShimonBarYochai’s focus on intent in Jewish law, #Rashbi also seeks to interpret verses thru the lens of its reasoning.
#RabbiShimonBarYochai was buried on Mt Meron in northern Israel, and his tomb is the site of a great festive pilgrimage of hundreds of thousands on the day of his passing: #LagBOmer amidst bonfires, singing & dancing & much lively festivity.
and a mini-series of (originally 5 or 6) tweets about Lag BaOmer car lessons connecting with Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai:
Two automobile scenarios with my daughters this #LagBaOmer reminded me of two things about #Rashbi:
#RabbiShimonBarYochai: Eldest daughter is in London for a wedding, where everyone else driving on the “wrong” side of the street is disorienting. Similar to the first time #Rashbi left the cave with his son & they thought everyone else’s occupation with worldly affairs was crazy.
Second #LagBOmer car connection was getting used to driving newer car without actually inserting a key into the ignition. This relates to #RabbiShimonBarYochai effecting change in the world remotely, at a remove, without actually engaging in it as much. #Rashbi