There are a number of posts relating to the questionable authorship of the Zohar ('traditionally' attributed to Shimon bar Yochai, see this wiki for examples, and references at the end). Some say that the fires that are lit symbolically relate to the mystical revelation of Torah in to the world (when Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, came out of the cave with 'fire' in his eyes).

Are there any implications for the minhagim of Lag Ba'Omer for those who don't hold Shimon bar Yochai to be the author of the Zohar?


  • "Did Rashbi write the Zohar?" - Mi Yodeya
  • Rav Ovadya Yosef on the Zohar, here
  • Rav Yaakov Emden, on the authorship of the Zohar, here
  • 'An analysis of the authenticity of the Zohar', Rav Chareidi, here
  • 5
    What does one have to do with the other? Lag BaOmer celebrates the end of the death of R Akiva's students, no?
    – Double AA
    May 17, 2019 at 15:50
  • Good point @DoubleAA however תלמידי ר"ע שמתו בימי הספירה כי פגמו באהבה שהוא המשפט וכו' R"A students who died during Sefira - because they blemished the Ahava, love, which is blemish of the Mishpat (justice, the Central Pillar, the Tzaddik Chai Almin) Lik. Halakhot O"C R"Ch 5:13 Oct 28, 2022 at 20:44
  • And the attack of the S"A is always against the Tzaddikei Emet and the sinat chinam, from Yosef unto Amalek v. Moshe and then attacks against Rashbi's chief authorship and lead and spirit of the Midrash Rashbi which is its original name, for he's not "the author" - that's not the nature of Midrash - it's a collection - but who led this Midrash and where is it from, it's statement and its spirit, the new revelations that could not come from any mortal man and were not revealed to even Moshe Rabbeinu a"h Oct 28, 2022 at 20:52

1 Answer 1


Are there any implications for the minhagim of Lag Ba'Omer for those who don't hold Shimon bar Yochai to be the author of the Zohar?

No, the various mourning customs and cessation thereof on 33/34 of the 'Omer predates the identification of the date with the anniversary of Rashbi's death.

According to some sources, the mourning customs go back as far as the Geonim (שערי תשובה סי' רע"ח connects it to Natronai Gaon). And the notion to cease from mourning customs on the 33rd goes back to at least the 13th c. France/Provence (see Sefer ha-Manhig, third paragraph here).

The further development which identifies this date additionally with the anniversary of R. Shim'on b. Yohai's death is from the Lurianic circle in the 16th c. (the שער הכוונות deemed it יום שמחת רשב"י).

Accordingly, whether this later conflation of dates is accurate or not (with all of its added symbolism), it ought have no bearing on the observance of any customs previously associated with the date/s.

  • This assumes that all the customs of the day are related to the cessation of mourning, which is not necessarily true
    – Jay
    Oct 28, 2022 at 19:57
  • +1 Is יום שמחת רשב"י what eventually brought upon all the Meron-based customs? I assume that that is somehow based on the Zohar.
    – Harel13
    Oct 30, 2022 at 5:50
  • @Jay I suppose I can edit to reflect that the major and more widespread customs, which relate to the cessation of mourning, are what would fall under this. Which customs specifically are you thinking of (pilgrimage to Meron? bonfires?)? Oct 30, 2022 at 14:13
  • @Harel13 I recall reading that during the Geonic period, many still persisted in some form of עליה לרגל and that before שבועות people streaming in from different northward regions would meet up in Meron to continue on in greater safety of numbers on the 18th of Iyyar. With Meron being the burial place of Rashbi, the connection between the man and the date was made in the consciousness of the folk-mind. So it would seem that these practices all sort of evolved over time and took on new layers of meaning with each development. I'll see if I can find the source for this at some point and update. Oct 30, 2022 at 14:15
  • @Deuteronomy Rav Hai if I'm not mistaken mentions an anecdote regarding aliyah la'regel in his time, if that helps.
    – Harel13
    Oct 30, 2022 at 14:29

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