The Jewish Eye
Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochaiís Big Week, But Donít Forget Rebbi Meir
The week of Lag BaOmer is known for the celebration of the Yahrtzeit of Rebbi Shimon in Meiron. Not too far away in Tiveria, a few days earlier on Pesach Sheini, is the celebration for the Tanna Rebbi Meir. Although Pesach Sheini is not the Yahrtzeit of the Rebbi Meir there is a minhag to celebrate his Hilula on this day. This minhag is brought down by the Sdei Chemed. He says that the origin of this minhag was that on Pesach Sheini they made a gala Chanukas HaBayis for the Bais HaKnesses built on his Matzeiva and they declared that they should gather every year on Pesach Sheini for his Hilula.
Rebbi Meir The Genius
We donít pasken like Rebbi Meir when he argues with any of his peers, which include the other talmidim of Rebbi Akiva, namely Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochai, Rebbi Yehuda, and Rebbi Yosi. Why? Because he was just too smart! Rebbi Meir could always win every argument and prove himself correct. He could prove to you that something assur is mutar and something mutar is assur. How can you rely on someone too smart for you to figure out if he is actually right or wrong? In fact when Rebbi Yehuda HaNasi, who wrote the Mishneh wanted to pasken like Rebbi Meir, he would omit his name from the Mishneh so that people would think it was the opinion of all the chachomim and would not know it was Rebbi Meir. ďStam Mishneh KíRebbi MeirĒ Rebbi Yehuda HaNasi said that the reason why he was sharper than his peers was because he was zocheh to see the back of Rebbi Meir when he learned torah from him. Had he been zocheh to see him from the front, he said he would have been even smarter.
Bruria His Wife
Rebbi Meir married Bruria the daughter of the great tzaddik Rebbi Chanina ben Terdayon one of the Asara Harugei Malchus. Bruria was a very smart women and the gemara mentions her vast knowledge, sharpness, and great deeds in a number of places in Shas.
The Medrash in Mishlei tells us the following story. One Shabbos afternoon when Rebbi was in the Bais HaMedrash his two sons dies. His wife Bruria covered hem with a sheet. When Rebbi Meir came home he asked where his two children are. She said they went to the Bais Medrash. Puzzled, he said he didnít see them there. She gave him the Kos to make Havdala. After Havdala he asked about them again. She told him that they went somewhere and would return shortly.
She brought him something to eat and while he ate she asked him a question. Someone gave me an item to safeguard and now he wants it back, should I give it back to him? He answered in the affirmative. She grabbed Rebbi Meir by the arm and took him to the room where the boys were laying and uncovered their bodies. Rebbi Meir began to cry. He said ďMy Son, My Rebbi. My sons in Derech Eretz, my Rebbi in TorahĒ. To console him Bruria turned to him and said, ďDidnít you tell me we must return what we were watching to the rightful owner who has come calling for it?Ē
Lost & Found
The Medrash Talpiyos says that if someone loses something they should promise to give oil for light in the Bais HaKnesses, right away while there is still a chance that they can get the object back. If they do they will find it immediately.
Non Conventional Burial
Rav Chaim Vital says in the name of the Arizal that Rebbi Meir was buried standing up (in accordance with the opinion of Rebbi Yosi ben Chanina in Bava Basra101a who permits it). The reason for this was that he wanted to be ready to greet Moshiach. We should all be zocheh to greet Moshiach Bimheira Biyameinu!
(Based on Mikomos HaKidoshim by Rabbi Yechiel Michel Stern)
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