Religion & Beliefs

I Forgot Lag Ba’Omer! Did You?

Did we miss Lag Ba’Omer?   It seems we missed

By / May 11, 2007

Did we miss Lag Ba’Omer?  

It seems we missed Lag Ba’Omer…

And although there seems to be much debate about exact what the holiday represents, most of the sources I’ve found say that:  

The origins of the holiday begin with the time of Rabbi Akiva. The Talmud (Yevamot 62b) states that 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva's students died from a mysterious divine-sent plague. The Talmud then goes on to say that this was because they did not show proper respect to one another, befitting their level. Jews celebrate Lag Ba’omer as the traditional day that this plague ended. This is the view recorded in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, 120:1-10.

Others say that these students were killed in the Bar Kokhba revolt (in which Rabbi Akiva was a major figure), the plague being the Roman occupation. As an act of censorship, the Talmud attributed their deaths to lack of respect to one another, afraid attributing their deaths to resisting the Roman empire would be viewed as treachery.

If we accept this as the reason for the season… then we can also understand that since the counting of the Omer (the season between Passover and Shavuot) is a period of mourning, Lag Ba’Omer is most of all a respite  from that period.  So then… how do we celebrate it?With bonfires, outdoor parties, and (for no reason I can find) playing with bows and arrows.  Which is a funny coincidence, since Beltane (which happens around the same time, is also celebrated with bonfires and running around outdoors). This begs the question… why’d I miss it?  Because I have never observed the counting of the Omer in any real way I guess, so I've never really observed Lag Ba'Omer either… which makes me feel a little bad.  But next year I’ll be ready, because it sounds like a lot of fun! So, what’d you do to celebrate? Blog notes on how some people celebrate it: The Velveteen Rabbi blends Lag Ba’Omer withMay Day… Chabad Mont Pneimios goes on a Lag Ba’Omer Cruise… Everyone Loves a Parade… Lots of folks go to Meron… And some Jewish Balloons celebrate with Hezbollah?