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.