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A Torah for Lag B'Omer: Open My Eyes That I May See Wonders in Your Torah

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According to the wisdom of arranging the letters of Hebrew words in various ways, in order to extract multiple layers of meaning, the letters of the word Lag (as in Lag B'Omer, the 33rd day of the Omer) when reversed, spell gal. The root word gal has many meanings, one of which is "to open" or "reveal." This meaning is expressed in the verse: "Open (gal) my eyes that I may see wonders in your Torah" (Psalms 119:18). This verse clearly relates to Lag B'Omer, the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. In the Zohar he and his students reveal sublime and lofty secrets of the inner dimensions of Torah.

Paradoxically, the words in Hebrew for exile (galut) and redemption (geulah) are both derived from the root gal. The fact that both words share the same root points to the intrinsic, cyclic connection of exile and redemption, as it has accompanied human kind and especially the Jewish people throughout its history. It is stated in the Zohar that on the merit of learning its teachings, the Jewish people will go out of exile. Learning the inner dimensions of Torah will create a critic mass of light and spiritual energy sufficient to turn exile (galut) into redemption (geulah).

When the Ba'al Shem Tov was elevated to such a degree that he merited to speak with the soul of the Messiah, he asked: "When will the Master come?" In response he was told: "When your well springs [of Torah] reach the farthest reaches" (Proverbs 5:16). We can now understand the explosion of interest in the Jewish and even non-Jewish world in the teachings of the Kabbalah in our time. As we move closer to the Messianic Age, these teachings will spread and strengthen to a tremendous degree.

This idea is essential to understanding the manner in which the late Lubavitch Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, established Chabad institutions literally in the four corners of the globe. This is the practical manifestation of the words received by the Ba'al Shem Tov and handed down to his followers.

Yet another meaning of gal is wheel (galgal) and in this sense exile and redemption form the wheel or revolving cycle of history. A similar word to wheel (galgal) is gilgul, which means "reincarnation." It is the Zohar, in fact, that first openly states the concept of reincarnation, which until then had only been alluded to in various texts and was known only to the great mystics in each generation. In addition to the macro-cycle of exile and redemption, each individual soul likewise experiences through reincarnation the appropriate individual micro-cycle of exile and redemption, until it finishes its complete rectification and purification of soul.

May the fires of Lag B'Omer reveal deeper and deeper levels of revelation and the commitment to spread the light of Torah until the "farthest reaches" of our inner soul and to those around us.

For more on the Omer, join the conversation and community by visiting the Omer liveblog on HuffPost Religion, which features blogs, prayers, art and reflections for all 49 days of spiritual renewal between Passover and Shavuot.

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Lag B'Omer - 33rd day of counting the Omer - ל״ג בעומר | Hebcal ...