Lag BaOmer is
Sunset, May 13 to
Sunset, May 14
Day 33: Blessed are you, ADONAI, our God, the sovereign of all worlds, who has made us holy with your mitzvot and commanded us concerning the counting of the Omer. Today is the thirty-third day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.
— traditional blessing and day count used in the counting of the Omer
Certainly the number 33 holds special significance here at 33 Gateway Lane! The number 33 by all means has special traditional considerations and meanings in the ancient annual “Counting of the Omer” (referred to as “Counting to Fifty” at 33 Gateway Lane).
Imagine — The 50-day revolution of spirit is currently being simultaneously experienced by countless individuals around the world. Everyone around the world unified by participating in the Count are comrades. Now that is one big fellowship!
Participating in the Count is a challenging endeavor under the best of circumstances, and by Day 33 can seem mighty tedious. Continued congratulations to all participants worldwide. We must be bold and hang in there!
TODAY: CELEBRATE !
This day marks the hillula (celebration, interpreted by some as anniversary of death) of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, a Mishnaic sage and leading disciple of Rabbi Akiva in the 2nd century, and the day on which he revealed the deepest secrets of kabbalah in the form of the Zohar (Book of Splendor), a landmark text of Jewish mysticism. This association has spawned several well-known customs and practices on Lag BaOmer, including the lighting of bonfires, pilgrimages to the tomb of Bar Yochai in the northern Israeli town of Meron, and various customs at the tomb itself.
While the Counting of the Omer is a semi-mourning period, all restrictions of mourning are lifted on this 33rd day of the Omer. As a result, weddings, parties, listening to music, and haircuts are commonly scheduled to coincide with this day among Ashkenazi Jews. Families go on picnics and outings. Children go out to the fields with their teachers with bows and rubber-tipped arrows. Tachanun, the prayer for special Divine mercy on one’s behalf is not said, because when God is showing one a “smiling face,” so to speak, as He does especially on the holidays, there is no need to ask for special mercy.
The most well-known custom of Lag BaOmer is the lighting of bonfires throughout Israel and worldwide wherever religious Jews can be found. In Meron, the burial place of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his son, Rabbi Eleazar, hundreds of thousands of Jews gather throughout the night and day to celebrate with bonfires, torches, song and feasting. This was a specific request by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai of his students. Some say that as bar Yochai gave spiritual light to the world with the revelation of the Zohar, bonfires are lit to symbolize the impact of his teachings. As his passing left such a “light” behind, many candles and/or bonfires are lit.
Lag BaOmer has another significance based on the Kabbalistic custom of assigning a Sefirah to each day and week of the Omer count. The first week corresponds to Chesed, the second week to Gevurah, etc., and similarly, the first day of each week corresponds to Chesed, the second day to Gevurah, etc. Thus, the 33rd day, which is the fifth day of the fifth week, corresponds to Hod she-be-Hod (Splendor within [the week of] Splendor). As such, Lag BaOmer represents the level of spiritual manifestation or Hod that would precede the more physical manifestation of the 49th day (Malkhut she-be-Malkhut, Kingship within [the week of] Kingship), which immediately precedes the holiday of Shavuot.
— adapted from WIKIPEDIA
REMINDER TO 33GL Counting to 50 Workgroup:
Don’t forget to stop by the 33 Gateway Lane Lag BaOmer Party Room!