Krakow Shliach Renews Age-Old Lag B’omer Custom

A pre-WWII custom to celebrate Lag B’omer and light a bonfire at the kever of the Rama in Krakow was revived by shliach Rabbi Eliezer Gurary and a group of locals. The visit also had a connection to the Siyum Harambam.

By reporter

For decades prior to World War II, Yidden would gather at the kever of the Rama in Krakow on Lag B’omer, marking his yom hilula and the yom hilula of Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochai with celebrations and the lighting of a bonfire. This year, Krakow shliach Rabbi Eliezer Gurary visited with locals and revived the age-old custom.

The yearly custom would draw Yidden from across Poland to Krakow, where they would daven at his kever and the ‘Rema Shul’, hold a large seudah and light candles. Following the Holocaust, and the destruction of Polish Jewry, the custom was, for all practical purposes, discontinued.

Over 70 years later, a group of local Yidden took it upon themselves to revive the custom. They visited the kever of the Rema on Wednesday night, the eve of Lag B’omer, davened and lit a bonfire.

Some visitors even pointed out that the custom also has a connection to the Rambam, whose magnum opus was concluded on Wednesday by thousands of Yidden. On the kever of the Rema appears the same line as on the kever of the Rambam – “MiMoshe ad Moshe lo kum k’Moshe” From Moshe until Moshe, no one arose like Moshe.

The line, which refers to the Rema’s name – Moshe, references a earlier Moshe, whose stature was unmatched until the Rema. According to many scholars, that earlier Moshe was the Rambam…

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