Tomorrow night is Lag B'Omer, a holiday which has become a huge celebration in recent years. The festivities mainly center on the nearby mountain settlement of Mt. Meron (the burial site of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai) with the spillover arriving in Tzfat.
Rabbi Shimon is believed to have written the Zohar, the Kabbalistic book which sets out the basics of Jewish mysticism. His tomb is a pilgrimage spot, and the great Kabbalistic Rabbi of the 16th Century, the ARI, began the tradition of visiting his gravesite on the anniversary of his death, Lag B'Omer. For those who don't make the trek to Meron to visit the gravesite, Lag B'Omer is also celebrated by thousands of bonfires in every nook and cranny of the country. (A well-known true story tells of the French Airline pilot who, upon circling Israel before landing one Lag B'Omer night, radioed the tower to ask if it was safe to land....the country seemed to be on fire)
As the years have passed, each of our kids has, at some point, left the home bonfire, then the neighborhood bonfire, to go off with friends. Although several neighborhood families get together every year to light a conflageration that can probably be seen on Mt. Meron (we have a pretty good view of the Meron area from our house, and with a good pair of binoculars can see the Meron fire) by the time the kids are in their early teens, they want to be with other friends in other parts of town. Up until this year, Gal, my youngest, was always part of the neighborhood festivities, but this year, she's chosen to spend the night with her classmates at a bonfire in a neighboring area of town.
So, this Lag B'Omer, for the first time, I will be on my own. Another milestone of raising my children. I'm SO EXCITED! I have a million plans, starting with a project that needs working on (articles to write about Tzfat), then making myself some dinner and sitting over my food with a book, and then starting another project that I've been looking forward to......this is going to be SO MUCH FUN!
The empty nest is going to have a happy mother bird tomorrow! (But let's be honest.....when the nest is occupied again, the mother bird will enjoy the normalcy)