Thursday, May 22, 2008

13 Ways to Celebrate Lag BaOmer

We're in the period of the Omer. You may have noticed that counter over there <---- that my dad made for me. We count the days from Passover until Shavuot, from the Exodus to the Revelation. The period of the Omer is considered a time of semi-mourning, in which certain things are not done. Some people don't cut their hair or have parties or weddings.

But the 33rd day of the Omer, Lag BaOmer, is a little different. (and it starts tonight!)

Why "lag"? It comes from the gematria, or counting, for the day: "lamed", ל, (L, value 30) and "gimel", ג, (G, value 3), making up "Lag" (33) לג. You can learn more about the whole thing here.

The reasons for the significance of the day are a bit mixed. Is it the Yahrzeit of the death of Shimon bar Yochai? (or not?) Does it symbolize the success of Bar Kochba's revolt? Or did it all start with Rabbi Akiva? Who knows, maybe they're all right...or wrong...but either way...

Here are some fun activites to try on Lag BaOmer...

1. Learn to shoot a bow and arrow. (to recall Bar Kochba's revolt)

2. Go on a campout, like Robin.

3. Have a picnic.

4. Make a big ol' bonfire.

5. Study the Zohar.

6. Visit Meron.

7. Cut your child's hair. Jody, are you reading this?

8. Get a commemorative t-shirt.

9. Give tzedakah. It never hurts.

10. Get married. You can't get married any other day of the Omer, so this is your choice between Pesach and Shavuot.

11. Shave...if you're not shaving during the Omer. I hope to post pictures before and after of my brother. Since he hasn't shaved since Pesach. He actually looks pretty good with the beard, tho!

12. Make cookies shaped like the alef-bet. After all, Lag BaOmer is considered a "scholar's festival" and so we should celebrate reading. What other shapes could we make? Books, the Torah, pencils...

13. Blog about it, of course.

More Thursday Thirteen here.


Dane Bramage said...

That was very interesting and educational to boot.

After a two week absence, I return with my Thursday Thirteen edition #79. It is another Mystery iPod Artist Contest. Stop by if you get a chance.

Pretty Life Online said...

Great list....nice catch for TT! Hope you'll visit my TT post too.

Leora said...

Comment on 10. Actually, my nephew got married on Rosh Chodesh.

My brother theorizes that Orthodox rabbis are getting more lenient on when you can get married during the Omer because they want to encourage as many marriages as possible. So since some people hold you can't get married before Lag B'omer and some people say you can't get married after Lag B'omer, whenever it is you want to get married, you hold by the other opinion.

Does that make sense? It doesn't really to me. ;-)

Robin said...

However it got started, it's definitely a fun holiday. Thanks for the linkie love too :).

Vered said...

I used to LOVE Lag BaOmer bonfires when I was a child in Jerusalem. We did it every year. I miss that. :)

Alice Audrey said...

I love my bow, but city ordnances won't let me use it much.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Only today? We're not camping until Saturday -- can I pretend it's the right day?

I'm reading Rashi's Daughters II. That ought to count for something, too. Right?

(okay, so I'm stretching, but given that I've never heard of this, either, don't I get a little credit for the effort?)

Mama Zen said...