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Who was Rabbi Shimon?

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai was the 2nd-century sage in ancient Israel, said to be active after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. He was one of the most eminent disciples of Rabbi Akiva, attributed by many Orthodox Jews with the authorship of the Zohar, the chief work of Kabbalah.

According to the Babylonian Talmud, Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai criticized the Roman government and was forced to go into hiding with his son for thirteen years. They sheltered in a cave (which local tradition places in Peki’in). Next to the mouth of the cave, a carob tree sprang up and a spring of fresh water gushed forth. Provided against hunger and thirst they cast off their clothing except during prayers and sabbath to keep them from wearing out, embedded themselves in the sand up to their necks and studied the Torah all day long. There he wrote Tikkunei HaZohar with Moses, Elijah the Prophet and Adam. He and his son left the cave when they received a bat qol (divine revelation) saying that the Roman emperor had died and consequently all his decrees were abolished.