Lag BaOmer is an enigmatic semi-holiday, of which the Shulchan Aruch speaks in terms of “a bit of joy”, which grew to a festive day of major proportion in the Chassidic world. Lag BaOmer should be seen in the context of the whole Omer period, in order to be properly understood. From the perspective of […]
The Bible makes reference to the “bow of Hashem” appearing in the skies in the time of Noach, after the Great Flood, “I have placed My bow in the clouds and it will be a symbol of the covenant between Myself and the Earth (Bereshit, 9:13).” This bow represented the covenant that G-d had made […]
For the Kabbalistically inclined, the following enchanting Shabbat “zemer,” festive song, is shown below. It was composed by Shimon ibn Lavi, who had fled as a child from the Spanish Inquisition, and arrived in Fez, Morocco, where he remained until 1549. He later set out for Eretz Yisrael, but on his way there, as fate […]
Before the Cave Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was a student of Rabbi Akiva, who was the spiritual leader of the Bar Kochba Revolt against Rome in 135 CE, which began in glory and ended in tragedy. His teacher was one of the four great Sages who entered the “Pardes,” the “Orchard” (not to be confused […]
What is it about Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai that attracts Jews from all backgrounds? Why is there an emphasis on bonfires on Lag B’Omer? Why is glory (hod) connected to Lag BaOmer & to Aharon in the ushpizin?
Back when I was growing up in Cleveland Ohio, Lag B’omer was a great excuse for a school trip. While I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit it, the countdown to Lag B’omer was nearly as fervent as the countdown to Shavuot. Up until about fourth grade we’d only go to some big park. But then we […]
For most of my adult life I remember that early sightings of Christmas decorations near my suburban NJ home were a sign that Thanksgiving was coming. In my childhood, the opposite was true – Thanksgiving was the official start of the Christmas (“Holiday”) season, ushering in sales and the beginning of public decorations. It never […]
Where does the name come from? The Day is given its name by its count in Sefirat HaOmer, which is thirty-three. How so? – You ask. Like so: The numerical equivalent of the Hebrew letter “lamed” is thirty. Similarly, the numerical equivalent of the letter “gimmel” is three. By higher mathematics, and the use of […]