Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lag B’Omer: An Overview by Rabbi Yair Hoffman

5Towns Jewish Times     The Rema, Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 493:2) writes that on Lag B’Omer we engage slightly in simcha. Observing Lag B’Omer is a serious matter. The Magen Avraham cites the Kavanos HaArizal that discusses a certain individual who had the habit of reciting “Nachem” every day. He continued to do so on Lag B’Omer as well. For doing so he was punished. We see, therefore, that one should take the words of the Rema quite seriously.

A number of reasons are cited by Torah authorities for commemorating Lag B’Omer:

• It commemorates that the students of Rabbi Akiva ceased dying during this day, although the deaths persisted between Pesach and Shavuos. (Shela, Pesachim 525)

• This day is the yahrzeit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who revealed the inner secrets of the Torah. (Chayei Adam, Moadim 131:11)

• This is the day that Rabbi Akiva granted ordination to his five students, among them Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. They did not die in the plague that struck Rabbi Akiva’s other students. (Pri Chadash, O.C. 493)

• It also commemorates the manna, which began to fall on this day after the Bnei Yisrael left Egypt. (Responsa Chasam Sofer, Y.D. #233, “Omnam yadati”) [...]


  1. Yes, but nowadays it has taken on a whole new meaning due to the influence of kabala. To some extent, the original rationale behind Lag Ba'omer has been overshadowed.

    1. I'm afraid I don't understand your reasoning here?

      Kabbalists(and anyone who want to join with them) typically send the entire night and day in study of the texts of the Rashbi, starting with some of his more popular sugiyot from the Gemarra, then the midrashim, and then the two Idrss from the Zohar.

      So if the point, as it seems to me, was to celebrate the Rashbi and his Torah, how has this been overshadowed?


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