The Universal Life Church Monastery wants to wish a happy Lag B’Omer to all our Jewish friends who are observing this special day. Chag Sameach, the time of mourning is passed!
For any unfamiliar with the Jewish holiday, Lag B’Omer refers to the 33rd day of the counting of Omer. According to the Torah, Jewish folk are compelled to count the days from the Passover to Shavu’ot. On the day of Lag B’Omer, the mourning practices observed during the Omer period are lifted, which calls for celebration. Some Jewish couples choose to get married on this day for this same reason.
This year, Lag B’Omer falls on today, April 28th, the Sabbath. Since Lag B’Omer is not a federal public holiday, celebratory events are sometimes held after school or work. This year, however, it does not matter; the people will be able to celebrate it on the holiest day of the week, the Sabbath.
Jewish communities in Canada hold festivities including bonfires, street festivals, and general fellowship and merrymaking. Some of the celebrations are specially geared for young adults and children, including playing with farm animals, and even paint ball.
In the United States, many Jewish boys who wait to cut their hair until they are three years of age, cut their hair on this day. This occasion is called the Upsherin and is special because a child’s third birthday marks a significant transition into their education.
There are several stories that attempt to explain why the 33rd day of the Omer period was chosen as a day of celebration. It is said that the pestilence that afflicted Rabbi Akiba’s students was lifted on this day. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s death is also remembered during this time. Some even say this particular day was chosen because of a connection an ancient pagan festival observed during this time.
No matter what the origins, like spring after a long winter, Lag B’Omer is a breath of relief after the mourning period of Omer. The ULC Monastery wishes Gut Yontiff (good holiday) to Jewish communities in Canada, the United States, and all over the world.