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Shimon bar Yochai

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai was a disciple of Rabbi Akiva. After Rabbi Akiva was put to death by the Romans for studying Torah, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai attacked the Romans for their cruelty and was himself condemned to death. Together with his son Rabbi Elazar, he went into hiding in a cave in the mountains near Peki'in in the Galilee, where they stayed for 13 years.

During their 13 years in seclusion, Shimon Bar Yochai wrote the Seder HaZohar (Book of Splendor), which forms the basis of Kabbalah (Jewish Mysticism). The Zohar deals with the mystical aspects of the Torah and has enriched Jewish spiritual life immeasurably.

In addition to writing the Zohar, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai played a major role in the study of Talmud and Midrash.

Many loyal followers visit the grave of Rabbi Shimoni Bar Yochai in Meron, Israel on Lag Ba'Omer, his "day of departure."

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