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A Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai Midrash

By: Rabbi Jonathan Duker

This week we celebrated Lag B’Omer, in which many Jews commemorate the life of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.
The following is a story about Rabbi Shimon that is found in Shir haShirim Rabbah. At the time of that this story took place, people followed a ruling (which is no longer practiced) that if a couple married for ten years were unsuccessful in having children, they should divorce and marry others in the hopes that another match would be more successful in having children.
We will pick up the story with the couple approaching Rabbi Shimon so he can officiate the divorce.
Rabbi Shimon said to them:  "I declare: Just as you married each other with a party, so too you should separate from each other with a party.”    
They took his advice and made a big party, and drank too much.
Feeling in a good mood the husband said to her,  “My darling. Pick out anything that you want in my house and take it with you to your father's house.”
What did she do? After he fell asleep she told her servants to lift him up on the bed and carry him to her father's house.
At midnight he woke up sober and said “My darling, where am I? “ She replied, “You are in my father's house.” What am I doing in your father's house?”
She replied, “Didn’t you tell me last night ‘Take anything that you want from my house and take it with you to your father's house.’ There is nothing in the world I care for more than you.”
They went back to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. He prayed for them, and they were blessed with a child.”

May we be worthy the blessing found at the end of the Midrash, that “If this woman was given her wish, certainly Israel who wait for the salvation of God every day and say ‘There is nothing in the world I care for more than you” will be given their wish as well.”