Boro Park Center Residents Celebrate with Simcha: the Fire of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai
"Great music, tons of dancing, and good energy” was what 200 hundred residents of Boro Park Center (BPC) experienced outside on Lag B’Omer on May 19, said Raizy Pavlov, BPC’s recreation director.
Last Thursday, residents’ families were invited to join in the fun and inspiration, when the Boro Park Center Rav Rabbi Aron Waijsfeld lit up residents’ neshamos with simcha and kedusha with his divrei Torah, as he lit the flames of BPC’s hadlakah.
Remembering the 45 kedoshim who tragically died last year on Lag B’Omer in Meron, in their honor, BPC’s residents sang, “Ani Maamim,” which participants said was a moving highlight of the day.
Despite remembering and honoring the tragic events of last year, Rabbi Waijsfeld said that before we can experience the simcha, we have to “smile and then start singing,” before leading the crowd in a liebidig rendition of “Reb Shimon.”
“Lag B’Omer is a happy day,” said Rabbi Waijsfeld, who stood in front of a beautiful backdrop that depicted the kever of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. “Why?”
“Because on Rabbi Shimon’s yarzheit, the availus stops because Rabbi Akiva’s students stopped dying.
“Similarly everyone’s sadness, unpleasant things, suffering, and heartbreak also should stop.
“From now on, we will see freilachkeit and happiness.”
Rabbi Waijsfeld also added to the warm, inviting, and uplifting atmosphere by wishing, “Happy Birthday” to two BPC residents: one whose birthday was on Lag B’Omer, and another’s whose birthday was the day after.
One resident said it was the most meaningful Lag B’Omer he ever had experienced,” remembered BPC Associate Administrator Nachman Feig.
“The patient said that had never before felt the kedusha and the happiness until he was a resident here,” Feig said. “It was really wholesome and meaningful. Our staff made sure everyone was there and everyone’s needs were met and we held residents’ hands, sang with them, and danced with them. It was a beautiful, uplifting moment.”