Friday, May 20, 2011

Lag B'omer is Coming, Lag B'omer is coming! (Close your windows)

The powers that be in Israel debated briefly whether to push off Lag B'omer. Push off? How do you do that? You don't actually, but the education system considered briefly giving off Monday instead of Sunday. They considered not because they think religious people will start burning everything in sight when it's still Shabbat. Rather, they considered the measure because there's concern that much of the secular public sector that deals with safety and security (mainly police on the roads leading to Meron) will start preparing while it's still Shabbat.
In the end, though, they decided to keep Sunday as the day off (why give a day off, you ask? Because many children will spend much of the night bored out of their minds telling themselves that they're having fun burning things.). This, I think is because no matter what government officials decided, Lag B'omer would still take place on Saturday night, as would the bonfires. 
For those of you already living in Israel, you know precisely what this means: close your windows! Lag B'omer eve is an orgy of male-dominated pyromania, some guitar playing, and many hot dogs.
Just as an illustration, I took a short trip around my block. Yes, my block. The pictures below are all within a sixty-second radius (walking) of my home. And this scene can be found all over the country. The zeal with which children (and often their fathers) gather, store and burn wood is almost amazing. If only they worked so hard on their schoolwork, Israel's education problems would be solved.
But it's not school. It's fire. A lot of them.