Monday, May 23, 2011

Lag B'omer Recap

Our entire neighborhood still smells. Ahhh, smoke. Which, of course, made it harder to breathe for a period of time.
We were in Yerushalayim for Shabbat at the Gruss Kollel in Bayit Vagan. For those of you who have been there, there's a road that leads down the hill towards the Kollel. On one side there are houses, and on the other a steep hill. The kids built what must have been a fifteen foot fire there. They were just getting started when we drove by. The fire was so big, that the kids couldn't stay on the same side of the street. In the middle of a major city! You can't make it up. How could they be sure that the fire wouldn't fall into the street (where many buses and cars drive by)? Be sure? Are you kidding? That's probably what they were hoping for.
Back at Yad Binyamin, we returned to quite a surreal scene. I love a bonfire as much as the next guy, but why thirty of them? Each of my older children had a separate fire to attend, and they all participate in the same youth group. I can't think of a reason why they couldn't all build a fire together (or at least one for the boys and one for the girls), but apparently there is one. A fellow Oleh remarked that the scene reminded him of a downed F16 fighter in Vietnam - fires along a line as far as the eye can see.
I think this is one minhag - and it really is a cultural thing - that I just will never understand.