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20 August 2019 - 19 Av 5779 - י"ט אב ה' אלפים תשע"ט
JTA NEWS :
Lag B’Omer – a day to celebrate and explore nature E-mail

Lag B’Omer is a ‘minor’ holiday celebrated on 33rd day of counting the Omer. Lag B’Omer is actually a shortened way of refereing to exactly that, the thirty-third day of counting the Omer.

The period of the counting of the Omer, the forty-nine days between the second day of the Festival of Pesach until the start of the Festival of Shavuot, is a mournful period. It directly links the freedom from bondage in Egypt with our ultimate redemption and the receipt of the Torah.

What is the Omer

The Omer is a specified measure of grain required for offering. While the offering is no longer required since the destruction of the Temple, many Jews still observe the custom. Rituals are followed and special prayers are recited each day during the Omer period.
During the 49 days weddings and other celebrations, are not held and orthodox Jews will not have their hair cut, a custom associated with mourning.

Restrictions lifted

On the thirty-third day of the Omer, there is however a day to celebrate. It is one of the few days of the period that weddings are permitted. The mourning period is also suspended to allow modern Jews to participate in festivities to mark Yom Ha’Atzmaut.

Its history

Lag B’Omer commemorates a historic event in Jewish history. In the time of Rabbi Akiba (50-137 CE) a mysterious plague took the lives of 24,000 of his students as it is written in the Babylonian Talmud. The plague ended on the 33rd day of the Omer. The holiday, in part, commemorates the students and celebrates the end of the plague, the day was set aside. Additionally, in 66 CE, the successful revolt against Rome also began on that same day, led by Bar Kochba.

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