On mount Meron in
the heart of the higher Galilee, is the burial site of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai,
one of the most important figures of Kabala (Jewish mysticism). Following the
spiritual and political footsteps of his rabbi, Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Shimon Bar
Yochai opposed the Romans and hid away from them in the cave of Peki'in. For 13
years he and his son were isolated from the world and devoted themselves to the
study of the secrets of Judaism. According to Jewish tradition, Rabbi Shimon
Bar Yochai wrote these mystical ideas in the book called "The Zohar"
which means the Radiance. According to the Zohar Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai passed
away on "Lag ba-Omer" (27 days after Passover) and was buried at mount
Meron. The white dome and the core of the building over the graves of Rabbi
Shimon and his son were built in the 16'Th century by Rabbi Galanti, who
followed the advice of Rabbi Isaac Luria. The Kabbalist of Safed in the 16'th
Century were also the ones who started celebrating on Lag ba-Omer the gift of
knowledge that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai left the world. Until this day it is a
huge celebration with no parallel in Israel.
Not far from the
building in the open area, is the traditional burial cave of Hillel and his
disciples and north-west of the parking lot, a trail goes up to relics of a
synagogue from the 4'th century.