I have a friend who has more energy than the Energizer Bunny. Some years ago, perhaps four years after her aliyah, when I was still living in Baltimore, I spoke to her on a Sunday.
"Are you feeling okay?" I asked. "You don't sound like yourself."
"I'm so tired, " she said.
"Tired? I've never heard you describe yourself that way. Why are you so tired?"
"Well, I was up until 3 AM, waiting for my kids to come home." she said, matter-of-factly.
I was puzzled. "Why in the world were your kids out so late??"
"They were out till all hours with their friends, building bonfires. You know, Lag b'Omer...."
I slapped my forehead with the heel of my palm. If she hadn't told me, Lag b'Omer would have come and gone without me really noticing. And that's when it hit me. Jewish life in Israel really IS richer.
|The very first Lag B'Omer fire my eyes set upon in Israel, one which I smelled before I saw. Bigger ones came later in the evening, but this was my very first.|
|Some of our neighbors dancing to the music.|
|If only my camera was as good as my eyes.|
|A modest haul.|
To ones that are more accurately described as campfires, like this one, obviously built by a boy scout:
|Notice the stones surrounding the fire to help contain it.|
|Sorry it's so dark, but can you find the broken down couch and the plastic chairs in the bottom of the photo?|
I did end the evening with a scratchy throat from the smoke, but there was joy in my heart from so many groups of Jews, gathered together to celebrate with fire, to match the fire in their souls.
And in the morning, cleanup begins.