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Deaths from the coronavirus in Israel have risen to 254. There are 64 people on ventilators. 34 new cases have been reported in the last 24 hours. The country continues to ease corona related restrictions.
The IDF demolished the West Bank home of a terrorist involved in the attack that killed Israeli teen Rina Shnerb in August of 2019. During the operation, dozens of Palestinians lit tires and threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at the troops. Last month the IDF demolished the homes of 2 other terrorists involved in the same terror attack.
Two small earthquakes were felt in northern Israel today. According to seismic experts, Israel experiences a massive quake approximately every 100 years, and the last major tremor was on July 11, 1927. That means Israel is due for another one in the near future.
Israel’s new government will be sworn in on Thursday. Finally.
Tonight and Tuesday is Lag B’omer, the 33rd day in the traditional counting of the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot. During that time period the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva were stricken by a plague and died as punishment for their lack of mutual respect and brotherly love. But on the 33rd day, Lag B’omer, the dying ceased.
The day also marks the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi), the second century sage who is believed to have authored the Zohar, the cornerstone text of the Kabbala (Jewish mysticism). Normally, hundreds of thousands of Jews gather at his tomb in Meron (near Tzfat) and light bonfires and pray and sing. Jews throughout Israel and the diaspora do the same. Unfortunately, this year there will be no large gatherings anywhere. And the police in Israel will fine you 500 shekels for a bonfire. Only 3 rabbis and less than 200 participants will be allowed to light the bonfire at Rashbi’s tomb in Meron.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate, and keep the fire of holiness and spirituality burning brightly in our own homes. May we merit to see the end of this corona plague very soon.