http://revach.net/article.php?id=5064

Section: Moadim   Category: Lag BaOmer
The Death of Yehuda Ben Geirim The Nemesis Of Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochai

After Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochai spoke against the Romans, Yehuda Ben Geirim repeated his words and the Romans heard and sentenced Rebbi Shimon to death. When Rebbi Shimon finally came out of the cave and saw Yehuda was still alive, he gave him a look that turned him into a pile of bones.

Tosfos says that this Yehuda be Geirim was a talmid of Rebbi Shimon whom Rebbi Shimon greatly respected. Therefore says Tosfos the proper wording of the gemara must be that Rebbi Shimon looked at him and he died, but no that he turned into a pile of bones. The Anaf Yosef asks, would Rebbi Shimon kill a tzaddik over this incident? Therefore he says that this was a different Yehuda ben Geirim who had done sufficient aveiros to merit this horrible death, and Rebbi Shimon's talmid was a different person by the same name.

Rashi says that he died in a way that he looked like he was long ago dead as all that remained was a pile of bones. Why did he die this way? The Ben Ish Chai in Ben Yehoada says that had he just died when Rebbi Shimon met him, the Roman would have accused the Jews of killing him. Therefore he died in way that it looked like he died long ago so that no accusations would be made.