Maran Hagaon Harav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, z”tl, never once went to visit Meron during his 90 years in Eretz Yisrael.
A story was told by Harav Elyashiv’s talmid, Harav Ben Tzion Hakohen Kook, and was publicized this week in the Shoalin V’Dorshin pamphlet, B’Chadrei Charedim reported.
When Harav Elyashiv was asked why he doesn’t visit the kever of Rav Shimon Bar Yochai on Lag B’Omer he would answer that he was busy learning Torah.
One year, a few weeks before Lag B’Omer, the Northern District Police Commander, Levi Shaul, who used to arrange a police escort every year when Harav Elyashiv would visit the Kosel on Chol Hamoed Sukkos [to fulfill the opinion of the Rambam who held that even during these times one fulfills the mitzvah d’oreiyasa of Shivas Haminim when blessing the lulav in Yerushalayim], made a surprising offer to Harav Elyashiv.
Shaul would arrange for Harav Elyahsiv to be flown in a police helicopter to Meron and then be driven in a police vehicle surrounded by policemen through the crowds to the kever of Rashbi. There the Rav would be able to spend as much time davening as he wished and would then be escorted back in the same manner in the police car.
“I promise that the Rav won’t need to stop for even a second from the time he leaves his home until reaching the kever and the same on the way home, ” Shaul concluded his offer.
Harav Elyashiv thanked Shaul for his offer but refused to take him up on it saying he would spend Lag B’Omer at home by his shtender learning Torah as usual.
Harav Kook concluded the story by saying: “Not that there is a heter, chalilah, to scorn the minhag of tens of thousands of Jews to go up to Meron but we have to remember what the ikar is.”
“Like Rosh Yeshivas Mir, Hagaon Rav Chaim Shmuelvitch, said: ‘Whoever goes to the kever is with Rashbi but whoever delves into his sayings throughout Shas, learns from his Torah and walks in his ways, is mamash with Rashbi.’”