In Pesachim, there is a sentence that reads, “He is worthy, Rabi Shimon, to rely on him…when in front of him and when not in front of him.” It is referring to conduct in Halacha, but tradition has taken that verse to expand that one can “rely on him” for salvations when praying in his merit. In Gemara Sukkah, the sages quote Rabi Shimon who said he could absolve the entire world of sin so great was his merit. Lag B’Omer marks the day when Rabi Shimon Bar Yochai got Semicha…which in turn allowed him to disseminate Torah traditions passed from Sinai and onwards. On his “day of Simcha”, Jewish tradition says, that those who help increase the joy of the day through donations will merit great salvations.
Traditionally, there has become ingrained in Jewish charity giving the concept to give in multiples of 18, to signify life and use the donation as a merit for life. On Lag B’Omer, not only is giving in numerical increments of $18 the custom, it is mirroring the actual day’s count in the month of Iyar. Lag B’Omer occurs on the 18th day of Iyar.
Enter your name and what you are praying for, and a special emissary of Belz will also pray for you in Miron on Lag Ba’Omer day.
Baruch Lev in his book There’s No Such Thing as Coincidence tells a marvelous tale of Lag Ba’Omer at the Kever of Rabi Shimon Bar Yochai. A group of guys sitting around in Bnei Brak discussed the miracle of birth just experienced by one of their friends. Childless for a long time, the couple had gone to Meron on Lag Ba’Omer and had promised that if they would be given a son, they’d come back the next year and donate Chai Rotel. Sure enough, that year, the couple would be making a trek to Meron to deliver the goods, as Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s merit gave them their child. The friends then all thought of someone they knew who didn’t have a child and planned to be an advocate for a different couple. They went to Meron, made their promises and returned to Bnai Brak. Sure enough, within a year, all the couples they had prayed for had given birth. As Lag Ba’Omer neared, they realized they would have to “pay up” the Chai Rotel. 54 bottles of grape juice were purchased in Bnei Brak… but every effort they made to get it to Meron seemed thwarted for some reason. It was Lag Ba’Omer already and they still hadn’t managed to get the grape juice they planned on donating, to travel where it should. Eventually, unexpectedly, they managed to snag a van service. The driver wanted a fortune for the haul. However, when he heard why they were hauling grape juice to donate, he wanted to be part of it. He had a family member who also was childless. So, with their new friend, a non-religious Israeli van driver, the Bnei Brak Chevra went back to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and witnessed the van driver make the same promise. Yup, a year later, their now-turning-religious van driver was back, with Chai Rotel. His relative, too, had given birth that year.