Lag BaOmer, which is the 33rd day of S’firas HaOmer, and the 18th of Iyar, is a festive day, celebrating two prominent and connected events.
In the weeks between Pesach and Shavuos, all of Rabbi Akiva’s 24,000 students died in a plague because they did not properly respect and honor one another (Y’vamos 62b). Though there are several commentaries on what it means that Rabbi Akiva’s students did not show enough respect and honor, all agree that they fell short in the mitzvah of V’Ahavta L’Rei’acha Kamocha, loving your fellow as yourself. We thus mourn over their behavior and the harsh din (judgment) they received. Lag BaOmer, however, was the day that the dying stopped, and on this day all signs of mourning are suspended. But, from the ashes of Rabbi Akiva’s loss arose five great sages who restored the Torah to the world: Rabbi Meir Baal HaNeis, Rabbi Yehudah bar Ilai, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, Rabbi Yossi ben Chalafta, Rabbi Elazar ben Shamua, and Rabbi Nechemiah.
Lag BaOmer is also the day that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi) was niftar. The great Tanna (Mishnaic sage) Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was one of the greatest teachers of halachah (Jewish Law) and is quoted numerous times throughout the Talmud. Before he was niftar, Rabbi Shimon called his students and revealed to them the deepest secrets of the Torah and Divine Wisdom. These secrets were written down and are contained in the Zohar, the fundamental text of the Kabbalah that is full of mystic interpretations of the Torah. (Moreh B’Eitzah 223, Mishmeres Shalom 38:1, Taamei HaMinhagim pg 256; 267-268). It is also brought down that 3,000 halachos were revealed to the world on the day that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai died (Ner Yisrael). Lag BaOmer is thus a day of great rejoicing that so much Torah and Divine secrets were given to us.
Our sages teach us that Lag BaOmer is a day for t’filah and y’shuah and is an auspicious time to daven for one’s physical and spiritual needs. Here are a few of the many sources on this topic:
On Lag BaOmer, there is a widespread minhag to shoot bows and arrows (Taamei HaMinhagim pg 252:605). Some say that since Lag BaOmer is a day that is fit for one’s t’filos to be answered, we shoot a bow (keshes in Hebrew) and arrow. The beginning letters of shomei’a kol t’filaseinu spell keshes (Minhag Yisrael Torah 493:14).
It is a day where one can ask for salvation in any area of life. (B’nei Yisaschar Iyar pg 98; Gal Einai pg 16)
Lag BaOmer is a day to do t’shuvah (Y’aros Devash 2:11, Or Mufla page 26).
Celebrating Lag BaOmer brings one to yir’as shamayim. (S’fas Emes – Emor 652, Or Gedalyahu Moadim page 154:4, Lag BaOmer page 260)
The Pri Tzadik writes that on Lag BaOmer one can be granted with the merit of reaching higher spiritual levels, thus enabling him to better learn and understand of the words of the Torah.
The days of Chodesh Iyar are a time of r’fuah, especially the days of hod, and more so Lag BaOmer, which is hod she’b’hod.
Lag BaOmer is a s’gulah for parnasah. (Nit’ei Gavriel Pesach 3: pg 292) In fact, the manna descended to B’nei Yisrael in the desert for the first time on Lag BaOmer.
According to the Admor of Sochtshov, Lag BaOmer is the best day to ask to meet your zivug (soulmate). In fact, the word “hilula” means “marriage,” and Rashbi himself was married on the day of Lag BaOmer. It is also a good day to pray for success concerning our children’s marriages.
Lag BaOmer is a good day to ask for children and many descendants who go in the way of Torah. There is an additional s’gulah to buy a bow and an arrow, as it is written: “Like arrows in the hand of a mighty man, so are the sons of one’s youth.”
There is a minhag to read chapter 67 of Sefer T’hilim, which expresses gratitude to Hashem, seven times on Lag BaOmer.
(Material was previously published on www.ShiratMiriam.com.)
List of People Who Need
a R’fuah Sh’leimah
(a complete recovery)
Please recite Psalms 20, 30, 88, 121, and 130.
Boris Baruch ben Frecha Frida
Alter Shmuel ben Chavah Leah
Chaim Avraham ben Shifrah Zisel
Chaim ben Malkah
Yehudah Yudel ben Miriam Gittel
David ben Rachel
Yisrael Zundel ben Miriam
Steven David ben Violette
Baruch Avraham ben Helen
Shimon ben Sarah
Yaakov Dov ben Priva
David Yosef Elimelech ben Elisheva Hinda
Yisachar David ben Chayah Brachah
Matisyahu Yeshayahu ben Chanah Chinka
Ariel Shmuel ben Leah
Yonah Gedaliah ben Pesha
Nasan ben Naamah
Alan ben Leah Angela
Yehoshua ben Miriam
Tzvi ben Miriam Rachel
Tovah Yocheved bas Esther Bukas
Chayah Shoshanah Tovah bas Esther
Ruchamah Perel Malkah Leah bas Chanah Serel
Malkah bas Allegre
Gittel bas Sarah
Esther Hadassah bas Devorah
Perel bas Nechamah
Mechelina Simchah bas Rinah
Rachel Leah bas Sarah
Tehillah Hadassah bas Elanah
Rachel Leah bas Sarah
Hadas bas Ora
Yael bas Ruth
Esther bas Nacha
Orana bas Suzan
Chavah Leah bas Esther
Mazal bas Malkah
Shirah bas Devorah Leah
Miriam bas Rachel
Julie Neshla bas Jamileh
Chavah Leah bas Esther