Lag BaOmer

Category: Religious
Lag BaOmer in Israel in 2024
Image: Holiday Lag BaOmer by Mushail Mushailov Public Domain

About Lag BaOmer

How long until Lag BaOmer?
Lag BaOmer .
Dates of Lag BaOmer
2025 Israel Friday, May 16thLag BaOmer
2024 Israel Sunday, May 26thLag BaOmer
2023 Israel Tuesday, May 9thLag BaOmer
2022 Israel Thursday, May 19thLag BaOmer
2021 Israel Friday, April 30thLag BaOmer
Find out the dates, history and traditions of Lag BaOmer.

Lag b’Omer, a holiday when observant Jews get a one-day break from an annual prohibition on celebrations. The holiday, which commemorates the end of a plague that killed thousands of an ancient rabbi’s students, is historically a popular wedding date, with large parties taking place throughout Israel and observant Jewish communities around the world.

Omer, means “sheaf,” and was a measure of grain from the new barley harvest cutting, brought to the Temple on the 16th of Nisan.

The barley was processed into flour; some of it was burned, and the rest was eaten by the priests. Fifty days later is Shavuot. Thus the counting of the omer provides a bridge between the Israelites being freed and receiving the laws. The seven-week period is a period of mourning when observant Jews do not shave or get haircuts and when there are no marriages or public festivities. 

The word “lag” is a combination of the Hebrew letters lamed, which stands for the number 30; and gimmel, which stands for the number three. The 33rd day of counting the omer commemorates the time when students of the second-century Rabbi Akiva (who supported Bar-Kochba’s rebellion against the Romans) were struck with a plague. On this day, it stopped. 

Nowadays, Lag BaOmer commemorates the anniversary of the passing of the great sage Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, a seminal figure in the development of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) and the enlightenment that he brought to the Jewish people in the form of his teachings. Rabbi Bar Yochai had a considerable impact on Judaism and is praised for his contribution to the formation of the mystical Kabbalah stream of the religion.

Lighting bonfires is one of the ancient traditions carried out during Lag BaOmer. The fires are supposed to represent the light, Rabbi Bar Yochai’s teachings have ignited in the world. The holiday takes place on Lyar 18, the 33rd day of the Omer, which is the period between the second day of Passover and Shavuot.

The holiday has gained much popularity in recent years, largely due to the efforts of the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—to promote grand parades of Jewish pride.

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