Lag B'omer is on the 33rd day of the Omer count and is celebrated on the 18 of Iyar
Lag B'omer is a very special holiday, why it is special and also very important, I will get to that later, but first I like to tell a bit more about The counting of the Omer.
The counting of the Omer begins on the second day of Pesach to Shavuot, what is the Omer and what does it mean?
Sefirat Omer, means the counting of the Omer, this is a period of 49 days from Pesach to Shavuot, from the Exodus out of Egypt until the Jews received the Torah, its rooted in the Kabbalistic concept of the Sefirot, this is also known as The Tree of Life, and the Counting of the Omer is a time of spiritualty.
But how does the counting of the Omer relates to the anticipation and the preparations for receiving the Torah? Well it is like this, after they left Egypt, the Jews spend the next 49 days in the desert preparing themselves spiritually for the most important experience of all times. The giving of the Torah to Moshe on mount Sinai to give to the Jews, and in this period each one was climbing with one step at the time, up to the emotional ladder towards a higher purity, this period has as much relevance to our lives today
Lag B'omer, is a Jewish holiday with Bonfires, Parades, Bows and Arrow and many other happy events. But why do we celebrate Lag B 'omer, and why is it so important to us?
It starts with one of our great Sages, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, wat did made him so great was that he was de first to teach the Mystical Dimension of the Torah, which is also known as Kabbalah, and he wrote the traditional text of Kabbalah, The Zohar
The Holy Zohar
The use of the Bow and Arrow symbolizes the Rainbow, which appeared after the great flood in the days of Noah,and is a symbol from HaShem, that He would never destroy the world, His creation by flooding it. The sages declared that Rabbi Shimon's goodness protected the entire generation, which means there was no need for the rainbow to appear, but with the passing of Rabbi Shimon there is now a reason for the rain( bow), this is where the Bow and Arrow comes from still till this day.
The Zohar also tells us that before the coming of the Moshiach, a very bright rainbow will been seen in the sky.
As the Torah is our only external tool where we meet our challenges of life every days life, we do have something very special to hold on to, the commandments, which we will preserve in order because HaShem created this world with a purpose, its not so much all the do' and the dont's, its more that the Torah tells us that bad will always try to overshadow the Good, but very deep down inside there is this Goodness, that Spark which will tell us what to do when we faces challenges, we do not always know where to find it or how to reach this part of our mind, at this point the Mystical Dimension of the Torah comes in and guides us to the very essence of our being, our Neshama.
Yom Hillula , the celebration by the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, on Lag B'omer there are Bonfires, but also Pelgrimages to the Burial place of Rabbi Shimon in the town if Meron in Israel. The Bonfires or the lighting of it symbolizes the ' Spiritual Light' brought to the world by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.
On the day of his death he said " Now its my desire to reveal secrets" The day will not go to its place like any other day, for this entire day stands within my domein. It stayed daylight, until Rabbi Shimon had completed his final teachings and then he died.
The light of the fires symbolizes the Spiritual light, and this shows us how powerful light really is.
Before his death he did commanded his fallowers to mark the day of his passing as a day of celebration rather than a sad day, he wanted it to be a happy day.
Another tradition which marks Lag B'omer, is the day in which the plague killed 24.000 fallowers of Rabbi Akiva, for this reason the mourning period of Sefirat Ha'omer which will end for observant Jews on Lag B'omer with a Pelgrimages to mount Meron.
Rabbi Akiva was the teacher of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and as we remeber the deaths on Lag B'omer it describes also to love and respect one another. Rabbi Akiva says that Ahavas Yisroel is the key to everything and that the end of Golus is coming when we have ahavas instead of issur sinas, how do we express this? The way to do this, is by not judging, but giving the peolle the benefit of the doubt, we have to stop being critical and not always think the worse.