The Big Picture: in memory of the Rabbi

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The Independent Online

Ultra-orthodox Jews pray at the grave site of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in the northern Israeli village of Meron.

It is early in the morning and these prayers are to mark the day-long holy Jewish holiday of Lag B'Omer, which commemorates bar Yochai's death.

Bar Yochai was a great scholar and one of the most important sages in Jewish history some 1,800 years ago.

To mark this day, hundreds of thousands of Jews light bonfires all night. It is widely believed that both the Rabbi and his son were buried on Mount Meron. Ultra-Orthodox Jews often mark the day with a visit to his final resting place.