Lag B'Omer - R E S P E C T !

Headshot of Gail Labovitz
by Rabbi Gail Labovitz, PhD
posted on May 18, 2022
Lag baOmer, the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer (which falls on the 18th of the Hebrew month of Iyar), is a strange, somewhat mysterious minor festival on the Jewish calendar. The counting of the Omer itself is a biblical commandment, mentioned in both Lev. 23:15-16 and Deut. 16:9: 49 days from when the first of the barley crop (the earliest ripening crop in the Land of Israel) is harvested, at the time of Passover, and culminating in the holiday of Shavuot on the 50th day. But there is no mention of any one day of the count being more significant than another. Read more...

The Faces of Lag Be-Omer

Photo of Pinchas Giller
by Rabbi Pinchas Giller
posted on April 29, 2021
Lag be-Omer, the 33rd day of the 49 days between the holidays of Passover and Shavuot, has many identities. In kabbalistic terms, the minor holiday begins as the celebration of the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, the hero of the Zohar. The Talmud had told the tale of his flight from the Romans, hiding in a cave, located, variously, in Peki’in or Lod. That tale and others attested to a turbulent and romantic career for the 2nd century Tanna. His reappearance as the hero of the Zohar, a thousand years later, reinforced the strong shadow of his presence in the general imagination. Read more...

Enough Regard One for Another Lag B’Omer and the Plague

Photo of Michael Berenbaum
by Dr. Michael Berenbaum
posted on May 19, 2020
Lag B’Omer has a special meaning this year. Lag B’Omer is the thirty third day of the Omer, that period of seven full weeks from the second night of Passover to Shavuot, literally the festival of weeks, the Bikurim Festival, when the first fruits were brought to the Temple in Jerusalem and the festival on which Jews commemorate the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. Read more...