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April 22,2021

We are currently journeying from the initial liberation of Passover to the joyous holiday of Shavuot, celebrating our acceptance of Torah. These special 49 days leading up to Shavuot are called the Omer. It is customary to count the Omer — and a week from today we’ll celebrate the 33rd day of the count, Lag BaOmer.

Our team handpicked these Sefaria texts and resources to fuel your Lag BaOmer learning!

(ד) ...המנין מראה לאדם כי כל ישעו וכל חפצו להגיע אל הזמן ההוא.

(4) ...[The] tally shows that... all of one's desire is to reach that time.

Curious about the ritual of counting? Learn the basics of the Omer, then learn more about the significance of the 33rd day.

(א) ...אָמַר לָהֶם הָרִאשׁוֹנִים לֹא מֵתוּ אֶלָּא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהָיְתָה עֵינֵיהֶם צָרָה בַּתּוֹרָה זֶה לָזֶה, אַתֶּם לֹא תִהְיוּ כֵן, מִיָּד עָמְדוּ וּמִלְּאוּ כָּל אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל תּוֹרָה.

[Rabbi Akiva’s] students died because they were stingy about sharing Torah with one another.

The Omer period is said to be a time of mourning for the loss of tens of thousands of Rabbi Akiva’s students to a plague which ended on Lag BaOmer. Read about this plague and what we can learn from it.

יָצְתָה בַּת קוֹל וְאָמְרָה: צְאוּ מִמְּעָרַתְכֶם!

A Divine Voice emerged and said to them: Emerge from your cave.

Lag BaOmer is often associated with the figure of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who hid with his son in a cave for 13 (!) years. Learn more about what Rabbi Shimon’s story can teach us about isolation and liberation.

(כז) נֵ֣ר יְ֭הוָה נִשְׁמַ֣ת אָדָ֑ם חֹ֝פֵ֗שׂ כָּל־חַדְרֵי־בָֽטֶן׃

(27) The lifebreath of man is the lamp of the LORD Revealing all his inmost parts.

Some have a custom to light bonfires on Lag BaOmer to celebrate the life of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai — in fact, thousands of people light bonfires at Rabbi Shimon’s gravesite in Israel each year. This Lag BaOmer, explore Sefaria’s prompts for reflection on light, loss, and memory.

However you celebrate, we hope these resources can enrich your day and learning.

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