Lag BaOmer

The Daily Halacha Moment - Customs Of Lag BaOmer 🔥


״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)


“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


Question:

What is Lag BaOmer?

What are some different customs done on Lag BaOmer? Why do we light bonfires?


Answer:

The thirty-third day of the omer is customarily a day of rejoicing, on which Tachanun is omitted. [1]Some say that we rejoice because this is the day that Bnei Yisrael stopped dying in the desert after yetziat Mitzaryim. [2] Some say that it is the day that Rabbi Akiva’s students stopped dying, thus enabling the remainder of his students to pass on the Torah to the rest of Bnei Yisrael. [3] Another opinion is that it is the day that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai passed away and left us with the secrets of the Torah, known as the Zohar. [4]

During Minchah on erev Lag BaOmer, Tachanun is also omitted. [5]

On the night after Lag BaOmer, one should not recite Vidduy in Keriat Shema SheAl HaMittah unless he is going to sleep after chatzot. [6]

Some people have the custom to bring their three-year-old sons to the gravesite of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai for his first haircut on the day of Lag BaOmer. [7] In such an instance, one may even cut the child’s hair inside a synagogue, since it is considered a mitzvah. [8]

If Lag BaOmer is on erev Shabbat, even Sepharadim may shave on Friday in honor of Shabbat. If one is unable to shave on that Friday, he may shave on that Thursday night.

[9] Many people have the custom to light bon fires on Lag Baomer to symbolize the light of torah, particularly the "mystical" portion, which was revealed to us by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

It is also brought down that the custom is to light candles. [10]


Sources:

[1]. Rama 493:2; Chazon Ovadia, Yom Tov, p. 273.

[2]. Shaar HaKavanot, Derushim LeSefirat HaOmer, 6; Gra §9.

[3]. Pri Chadash §2; Shulchan Aruch HaRav §5.

[4]. Birkei Yosef §4; Chayei Adam 131:11; Aruch HaShulchan §7. See also Teshuvot Chatam Sofer, Y.D. 233 for another possible reason why we celebrate Lag BaOmer.

[5]. Kaf HaChaim §28; Mishnah Berurah §9. See also the Levush §4, which states that when Lag BaOmer is on a Sunday, Tzidkatecha is also omitted during Minchah on the preceding Shabbat.

[6]. Moed LeChol Chai 7:10; Kaf HaChaim §31.

[7]. See VaYashov HaYam 3:29; Keter Shem Tov, vol. 2, p. 591; Nitei Gavriel, Tiglachat Yeladim 1:1; Kaf HaChaim 531:27.

[8]. Yechaveh Daat 5:35.

[9]. Shulchan Aruch 493:2; Chazon Ovadia, Yom Tov, p. 267.

[10]. Taamei Haminhagim, Inyanei Pesach, 607; Bnei Yisasschar, Chodesh Iyar, 3:2; Torah Lishmah 400. See also in Aruch HaShulchan 493:7


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