Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Overview of the Yom Tov: Lag B’Omer

Rochel Gross

Here we are, in the middle of the sefiras haOmer, a time of mourning for Rabi Akiva’s 24,000 talmidim, who passed away for the sin of not treating one another with enough respect. We refrain from cutting our hair, listening to music, performing weddings, and wearing new clothes. But then, the thirty-third day of the sefirah is a day of great rejoicing and festivity. Why the celebration?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What makes the 18th of Iyar, better known as “Lag B’Omer,” such a special day? Two very significant events occurred on this day.

  1. The talmidim of Rabi Akiva stopped dying.
    Can you imagine what a terrible tragedy it was that so many thousands of Rabi Akiva’s holy talmidim, who were great talmidei chachamim, passed away in one terrible plague? Of course, when the plague stopped — on Lag B’Omer — it was cause for rejoicing.
  2. Rabi Shimon bar Yochai passed away.
    Hey, just a minute! Isn’t the passing of such a holy Tanna a sad event? Shouldn’t we be fasting instead of celebrating?
    On the day that Rabi Shimon bar Yochai (“Rashbi” for short) was niftar, he revealed very lofty, great secrets of the Torah to his talmidim (this later became the holy sefer haZohar). Never before had this knowledge been revealed. Miraculously, the sun did not set until Rabi Shimon finished telling his talmidim everything that Shamayim allowed him to disclose, and so the day was much longer than usual. Lag B’Omer is a very happy day for us because that is when we received all this wondrous knowledge and discovered the hidden part of the Torah (nistar). Rabi Shimon himself instructed future generations to rejoice on the day of his passing.

 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you