Holidays just ahead: Lag B’Omer and Shavuot
One-day suspension of the traditional mourning period during Sefirat HaOmer (“The Counting of the Omer”). On this day, a plague afflicting Rabbi Akiva’s students ceased. Also commemorates Bar Kochba’s recapture of Jerusalem from the Romans. Celebrated with picnics and nature outings. Sefirat HaOmer is a seven-week period that begins the second night of Pesach and ends at Shavuot. The 32 mourning days during this time commemorate the deaths of Rabbi Akiva’s students. Traditionally, weddings, festivities, and haircuts are prohibited during this time.
I love Shavuot. It is one of the three pilgrimage holidays when Jews in ancient times made pilgrimage to Jerusalem to offer a special sacrifice at the Temple. If you read Arthur Waskow’s Seasons of our Joy, you’ll learn about the activities that took place in the ancient Temple. It was magnificent and makes you want to step back in time. In modern times we observe the holiday by studying all night in commemoration of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. You can find additional information and links at www.jholidays.