May 26, 2016 2:45 pm at 2:45 pm #617761
The question always strikes me this time of year – what exactly are we celebrating on Lag Bi’Omer? (Particularly for those of us who have little to do with esoteric teachings of Kabbalah?) What are all of the parties and bonfires commemorating, and what ideals do they celebrate?
So this year, I decided to sit down and figure it out.
My search brought me to the Rema in Hilchos Sefiras Ha’Omer (או”ח סימן תצג) who says: מסתפריו ביום ל”ג ומרבים בו קצת שמחה, we take haircuts on the 33rd day of the Omer and increase in simcha to some extent. The Mishna Berura there explains that is because this is the day that the talmidim of R’ Akiva stopped dying (at least according to the Rema).
But then, I saw a great question brought down from the Pri Chadash: Why are celebrating that the talmidim of R’ Akiva stopped dying, if the reason that they stopped dying was because were none left?
So the Pri Chadash gives a different answer as to why we celebrate Lag BI’Omer. He brings down the Gemara that says that when R’ Akiva’s talmidim finished dying, the world was desolate of Torah. But on that very same day, R’ Akiva went to search for new talmidim. And from those five new Talmidim came all of the Torah that we have today. It is R’ Akiva’s persistent dedication to spread Torah, and to never, never give up, that carried us throughout the generations; and it is that fierce determination what we celebrate on Lag Bi’Omer.
And the truth is, this absolute dedication to keep the fire of Torah burning was a constant theme in R’ Akiva’s life. From deciding to radically change his life at the age of 40, to leaving his wife for 24 straight years, to living in abject poverty, to refusing to give up when all 24,000 of his talmidim died, and to finally refusing to stop teaching Torah to the public even when faced with certain death at the hands of the Romans, R’ Akiva’s convictions and dedication never wavered.
The same can about R’ Akiva’s talmid, R’ Shimon Bar Yochai, whose yarzeiht is on Lag Bi’Omer. Chased by the Romans, hiding in a cave, he never stopped learning. Even as R’ Akiva was in jail, about to be killed for teaching Torah, Rashbi was begging him to teach him more (Peasachim 112a).
It is the absolute dedication of these giants among men, and many more like them, that kept Torah by Klal Yisroel, and carried us through the ages. And how lucky are we that the Torah we study was transmitted by such giants, and that it is their opinions that we study and practice. A reason for celebration, indeed.
But I think perhaps there is another idea that Lag Bi’Omer celebrates as well. The Mishna Berura (סי’ תרסט ס”ק יא) writes that the Arizal said about himself the reason he was zoche to the exalted level that he attained was because he rejoiced so completely in the simcha shel mitzva.
There are few days in the Jewish Calendar that bring out the simcha shel mitzva of Klal Yisroel quite like Lag Bi’Omer does. In Meron and around the world, one can find Jews of all types singing and dancing, screaming out אַשְׁרֵיכֶם יִשְׂרָאֵל! How lucky are we that we are a part of the Jewish nation, and how lucky are we that we have such a connection to אביכם שבשמים!
We do not serve Hashem just because we have to; we do it because we love Him, and we do it with all of our hearts and all of our souls! This is what we live for!
And that, I believe, is the message of Lag Bi’Omer.May 26, 2016 3:41 pm at 3:41 pm #1153025Mashiach AgentMember
heres a different question for lag ba’omer. what percentage of people are enjoying lag ba’omer-with all the entertainment it comes with-lekovod Rabban Shimon Bar Yochai for his honor & to give him respect versus enjoying it for the entertainment & parties etc…
whats your opinion? whats the ratio?
80 percent for gashmius entertainment 20% ruchnius lekovod RSB’Y?
HOW MANY are really celebrating with pure spirituality for RSB”Y? i don’t think too many. a very small amount of the total. but im not surprised based on todays dor we are living in where everything is about enjoying life & entertainment R”L forgetting what life is really about. you think we go to meron & Uman for their kovod? we go to enjoy ourselves & the entertainment it comes with R”L
May we return to Hashem with full ruchnius very soonMay 26, 2016 6:25 pm at 6:25 pm #1153026
Thank you for you beautiful, thoughtful post!May 26, 2016 6:34 pm at 6:34 pm #1153027
MA, seems like your always complaining about the level, status, matzav of Kedusha of Achainu Bais Yisroel. Always the first to condemn, find fault (true or otherwise), criticize.. at any opportunity (and even without one!)
I can help you. I help people like you… see the light (stars). It’s my profession… (sure)May 26, 2016 7:49 pm at 7:49 pm #1153028Mashiach AgentMember
because the world is sleeping-jewish or not-& is living in denial WITHOUT FACING REALITY & instead of doing something about it like achdus or teshuva EVERYONE remains in Denial & blocks the wake-up call from Hashem from their faces & thinks we can fool Hashem that we don’t get his wake-up calls. but the truth is WE DO get it we just can’t admit it and FACE REALITY.
it works the same in the Physical world ex: when parents have a problem child C”V most of them BOTH will say its not so bad at least he is getting a 70 on his test marks & passing…. now he is 8 by the time he is Bar mitzva the child is such a problem child R”L all because the parents COULDN’T FACE REALITY & admit to themselves that we have a problem child and need to do something about it NOW.
are you going to deny this & say this is false?
YOU & ALL OF KLAL YISROEL talk to Hashem & let him know when your ready to face reality & do teshuva that is caused by all the tzaros going on today R”L until then we are all responsible-myself included-for the endless nonstop tzaros hitting klal yisroel every day R”L
could’ve stopped years ago. may we all do teshuva ASAP so it stops ASAPMay 26, 2016 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm #1153029
As I’ve said before, I can help. I know how. Just ask the countless people I’ve counselled, guided, coached. I’m trained, certified. I’ll even do it for free… I see you could really benefit from my services…May 27, 2016 12:30 am at 12:30 am #1153030feivelParticipant
Thank you so much for posting that.
Added some life to my own celebration.
Thank youMay 27, 2016 12:32 am at 12:32 am #1153031feivelParticipant
MA. You often speak the Emes that is often ignored. we need that sometimes.
But I think you need some guidance and work on your attitude and presentation.
I think.May 12, 2017 10:55 am at 10:55 am #1274658May 12, 2017 10:56 am at 10:56 am #1274667
There are few days in the Jewish Calendar that bring out the simcha shel mitzva of Klal Yisroel quite like Lag Bi’Omer does. In Meron and around the world, one can find Jews of all types singing and dancing, screaming out ??????????? ??????????! How lucky are we that we are a part of the Jewish nation, and how lucky are we that we have such a connection to????? ???????!
Pretty sure that used to say “אשריכם ישראל!” and “אבינו שבשמים!”
#BringBackTheHebrewMay 12, 2017 11:01 am at 11:01 am #1274673YW Moderator-💯Moderator
Yep.May 12, 2017 11:03 am at 11:03 am #1274674
Mods, thanks for replacing the hebrew.May 14, 2017 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm #1275824tzei ulemad- exit 91Participant
I agree with the mashgiach agent but i do think more than that percentage is celebrating out of reall simchaApril 30, 2021 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm #1969765
Particularly appropriate for this year 😔 😢May 2, 2021 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm #1970084n0mesorahParticipant
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