MembersWhy Jews Celebrate Lag B’Omer

This often-misunderstood holiday is an opportunity for the Jewish nation to unite in common cause, lest we suffer the ruin that befell our people in the past

| Topics: Lag Baomer
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men carry a torch to a bonfire during celebrations of the Jewish holiday of Lag B'Omer.
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men carry a torch to a bonfire during celebrations of the Jewish holiday of Lag B'Omer. Photo: Yaakov Naumi/Flash90

As we speak, Jews around the world are celebrating Lag B’Omer. Although most Israelis consider it to be a holiday where the family gathers around the bonfire to do barbecues, Lag B’Omer actually has a deeper meaning to it.

Following the Passover holiday, the Jewish people traditionally enter a time of mourning prior to Shavuot known as the “Omer” period, when it is forbidden to cut one’s hair, listen to music or have weddings. This is in memory of the 24,000 students of the **Rabbi Akiva**, who all perished in a great epidemic because although they were amazing scholars, they failed to show love for one another.

We mourn their deaths not because they were ideal role models, but because their deaths represented a grave loss to the Torah world, for much of the knowledge that was taught to them by Rabbi Akiva perished with them, thus forcing him to start over from scratch by teaching his wisdom to five new pupils. However, on Lag B’Omer, the period of mourning the deaths...

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