What do bonfires, haircuts, and weddings have in common? Join us as we learn about Lag B’Omer, a holiday that happens on the 33rd day of the Omer, the time we count between Passover and Shavuot. You’ll get a chance to learn about some Lag B’Omer traditions and ask questions about this minor Jewish holiday.
Join us on Thurs., April 29th @ 7:00 PM PT with Rabbi Ruth Adar as we learn more together!
This program is one session out of many we have planned for a whole year of Jewish Holidays and Traditions 101 – Your Guide to the Jewish Calendar.
Lag B’Omer 101 Factsheet
What is Lag B’Omer?
Literally the 33rd day of the Omer, the 49 day period between Passover and Shavuot, Lag B’Omer is a fun minor holiday and a break from the semi-mourning of the Omer. Some key aspects of Lag B’omer include holding Jewish weddings (it’s the one day during the Omer when Jewish law permits them), lighting bonfires and getting haircuts.
Why do we celebrate?
There are a few explanations why we celebrate Lag B’omer, but none is definitive.
The Omer is a time of semi-mourning, when weddings and other celebrations are forbidden, and as a sign of grief, observant Jews do not cut their hair. Anthropologists say that many peoples have similar periods of restraint in the early spring to symbolize their concerns about the growth of their crops. But the most often cited explanation for the Jewish practice comes from the Talmud, which tells us that during this season a plague killed thousands of Rabbi Akiva‘s students because they did not treat one another respectfully. The mourning behavior is presumably in memory of those students and their severe punishment.
According to a medieval tradition, the plague ceased on Lag B’omer, the 33rd day of the Omer. (The Hebrew letters lamed and gimel which make up the acronym “Lag” have the combined numerical value of 33.) As a result, Lag B’omer became a happy day, interrupting the sadness of the Omer period for 24 hours.
Lag B’Omer Traditions:
- Celebrating outdoors with bonfires and picnics
- Getting haircuts after many weeks of not cutting your hair during the Omer.
- Getting married
For more information about Lag B’Omer:
Past Jewish Holidays and Traditions 101 Courses…