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 Holiday Central > Lag b'Omer > Lag b'Omer Customs
Lag B'Omer Customs
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Families and friends gather together for a bonfire or a picnic on Lag B'Omer, often on Mount Meron.

Traditionally this practice is thought as memoriam to the great Torah and kabbalistic scholar Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. This Rabbi authored the great kabbalistic work “ The Zohar” which brought forth a great spiritual light onto the world. The bonfires commemorate that great light. Another source focuses on the Bar Kochba revolt. Historically, before the revolt of Bar Kochba, there were decrees set forth by the Romans, forbidding the Jews from marking the new month by setting bonfires. Upon Bar Kochba’s temporary victory, bonfires were reinstituted. Today we celebrate that freedom with the lighting of bonfires.

Upsherin - First Hair Cuts:

Many Jewish families refrain from cutting boys' hair before they reach three years of age, the qualifying age for a tot to begin the study of Torah. The first haircut, the "upsherin" (Yiddish, to cut off), is nowadays celebrated by many chassidic and traditional families.

This custom, though not Talmudic based, dates back many generations. In the sixteenth century, the famed rabbi, Reb Yitzchak Luria, a.k.a. the holy "ARIE" (1534-1572), celebrated the third birthday of his son, on Lag b'Omer, at the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yoachai in the city of Meron in northern Israel. He is believed to have attributed the celebration to "the well-known tradition."

Biblical references to the right of passage of "weaning" can be found in Genesis 21:8, where we find that Avraham "made a great feast the same day that Yitzchak (Isaac) was weaned. The 11th century sage, Reb Shlomo Yitzchaki, or "Rashi," the famous biblical commentator, writes that Yitzchak then entered his third year.

Bows and Arrows:
On Lag Baomer kids go out into the fields to play with bows and arrows. There are two schools of thoughts as to what this custom commemorates. One opinion cited in the Midrash is that during the time of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai no rainbow was seen. It was after the great flood that God promised Noah that he would never bestow that kind of devastation on the world again. The rainbow, according to Talmudic commentators appears when God deems the people of the world as deserving severe punishment for wrongdoing. It was due to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s merit that the world was protected from punishment and the warning sign of the rainbow was not needed. The other reason given for youngsters going out into the fields to shoot arrows is that it commemorates Bar Kochba’s temporary victory over the Romans
Lighting Bonfires

Eating Carobs
It is customary in some Jewish communities to eat carobs on Lag B’omer. This is done to memorialize the miracle that occurred to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and his son while they were hiding in the cave, after fleeing Roman persecution. For thirteen years, Rabbi Shimon and his son sustained themselves on carobs and water from a tree and spring that God had miraculously provided for them.

Mazor Guide to Lag b'Omer brings you much more about the holiday, its meaning and its traditions... See the links below.

MazorGuide Recommended Reading

A Tzaddik in Our Time : The Life of Rabbi Aryeh Levin
by: Simcha Raz / Hardcover / Published 1989
An amazing tale of an amazing man who lived in amazing times.

A story of goodness and kindness in action!


Hebrew for Kids


Amazing New Kosher
Cookbook. BUY

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