Question: I have heard that some say one should avoid going to R' Shimon Bar Yochai’s kever in Meron on Lag B’Omer. Why is this?
Answer: The Chasam Sofer (YD 233) writes that it is wrong to go and turn Lag B’Omer into a Yom Tov. While there is a custom not to fast or deliver the eulogies on this day, we don’t know the reason for this. There were no specific miracles that occurred, he writes, and there is no mention throughout shas or poskim that this day should be treated as a festival.
The Chasam Sofer gave a hesped (printed in Toras Moshe, Vayikra) after hundreds lost their lives in 1837 to the Tzefas earthquake. He laments that people were travelling to Meron, Tzefas and Teveria to Daven at kivrei tzadikim while abandoning Yerushalayim, Israel’s holiest city. He continues by challenging those who treat this day as a Yom Tov. Since when do we celebrate a tzaddik’s death in such a way? Moshe’s death is certainly not celebrated as a Yom Tov?!While many prominent Chassidic Rebbes and Sefardic Rabbanim have encouraged their followers to attend the Meron festivities, many Gedolim including R' Ovadia Yosef (Yechave Daas 5:35), R’ Shach and R’ Yosef Shalom Elyashiv urged others to avoid it, and not to treat this day as such a Yom Tov.