Lag B’Omer is the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer, it is a festive day and is celebrated with outings, bonfires, parades and other joyous events.
What are we celebrating?
Firstly, we celebrate the life of great mystic and sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who’s death anniversary is on this day. Although the expectation would be to mourn on such an occasion, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai instructed his disciples to mark it as a day of his joy, for instead of mourning his death, we are instead celebrating his life.
Secondly, we celebrate the cessation of the deaths of Rabbi Akiva’s disciples from a plague. For weeks between Pesach and Lag B’Omer a plague raged amongst the desciples of Rabbi Akiva because they did now act respectfully towards each other. This is why we observe the weeks of the Omer in a mourning like state.On Lag B’Omer the deaths ceased and thus we celebrate. It is also the reason why the governing theme of Lag B’omer celebrations is Ahavat Israel (Loving your fellow Jew).
How is Lag B’Omer celebrated?
It is customary to spend the day in outdoors activities.
The mourning observances of the Omer are not adhered to on this day. Music is played, boys who missed out on their Upshernish during the Omer have the Upsherin on this day, weddings are held.
Bonfires are kindled and a festive gathering around the bonfire takes place – some communal.
In Chabad there is a practice to hold parades. This was instituted by the Lubavicher Rebbe in the 1950’s for the children to be able to show unity and Jewish pride.
Lag B'Omer with CBDChabad sydney
CBDChabad celebrates Lag B’Omer with a host of offerings every year! BBQs, communal bonfires, Kumzitz, lessons and shiurim in the lead up to the holiday are also arranged by Rabbi Danny and Rebbetzin Sara-Tova.
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