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Home > Holidays> Lag B'Omer


Lag B'Omer


Lag B'Omer, the 18th day of Iyar, literally, the 33rd day of the Omer (or counting the Omer). On this day, the students of Rabbi Akiva did not die, and Jews today now end the ritual mourning period. Jews are permitted to cut their hair, have weddings, listen to music etc.

Lag B'Omer also coincides with the death of Rabbi Shimon Shimon bar Yochai, a sage from the Mishna era. While a death is not usually marked with rejoicing, we regard Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai differently. The Zohar says that on the day Rabbi Shimon died, a great light of endless joy filled the day because of the secret wisdom he revealed to his students. That secret wisdom was recorded in the Zohar. The sun did not set until Rabbi Shimon hd revealed all that he was allowed to. As soon as he was done, the sun set and he died.

In Israel, Jews travel to Rabbi Shimon's grave in the city of Meron. Many parents wait until their son is three to cut his hair, and on Lag B'Omer they cut his hair for the first time.

There is also a tradition for children to play with bows, "keshet" in Hebrew, to symbolize the rainbow that God placed in the sky to ensure his promise to never send a flood as he did in Noah's time.



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