Lag B’Omer is a lesser-known Jewish celebration, which commerorates the 33rd day of the Omer, or time between the Jews leaving Egypt and their receiving of the Torah 40 days later.
So, what’s so special about the 33rd day, and why do we honor this occasion?
The answer depends on who you ask. However, many scholars believe Lag B’Omer is observed because, according to the Talmud, during the Omer, the esteemed sage Rabbi Akiva’s students were killed by the thousands, on all the days, save for the 33rd one.
Yikes! Seems like a dark reason for a celebration, but hey, have you seen pretty much every other Jewish festival? Celebrating not getting killed is our bread and butter, or bagel and schmear, if you prefer.
For observant Jews, the Omer is a time of mourning, and thus many refrain from partaking in activities like getting their hair cut or participating in big celebrations. During Lag B’Omer, however, these restrictions are lifted, and many Jews use this time to celebrate by having weddings, lighting bon fires, holding parades and even eating s’mores.
If you are new to celebrating Lag B’Omer, or haven’t celebrated in a while, PJ Library offers some great ideas for families.
From books to read, to recipes to make, you can find a comprehensive guide to Lag B’Omer here.
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