With yesterday being Lag B’Omer here is something I wrote a few years ago pertaining to the joyous day. It was a thought that crossed my mind regarding Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (RASHBY).
Most, if not all observant Jews know the famous story of RASHBY. He and his son are forced to live in a cave for 13 years because Yehudah ben Garim told the Roman government about some unflattering things RASHBY said about them. As a result of those unflattering remarks the Romans wanted him dead.
However there is another story which RASHBY is a part of where he was the one who told and caused trouble form someone else. This is another famous story, where Rabban Gamliel is deposed because of his (continued) treatment of Rabbi Yehoshua. The Talmud in Brachos tells us a student asked Rabbi Yehoshua if Maariv (evening prayers) is an obligation or optional? He answered and then the student went to ask Rabban Gamliel the same question and he answered the opposite of Rabbi Yehoshua. The student told him this and Rabban Gamliel embarrassed Rabbi Yehoshua for the third time. At the end of this entire story the Talmud asks how this student was and it was RASHBY.
I find this to be an interesting juxtaposition of stories. One he is the victim and the other he is the cause and both have to deal with slander. It seems logical that the story of the cave happened when he was older while the other story was when he was a young student.
What if RASHBY having to hide in the cave was a Devine punishment for causing all the trouble for Rabban Gamliel and Rabbi Yehoshua?
I don’t have an answer.