I get the feeling that Jewish holidays were developed by drunk rabbis throwing darts at a dartboard with words like “etrog”, “no leaven” and “bows and arrows” written on them. Had the inebriated rabbis thrown differently, we’d have holidays like Yom Lag Ba’Chanukkah, which includes repenting our sins while throwing menorahs at your fireplace.
Lag B’Omer (aka Lag BaOmer aka Lag LaOmer) is basically a break in the Counting of the Omer. Like someone on a diet taking a day off to eat a Double Down from KFC, Lag B’Omer gives people a chance to chill out from the mournful, contemplative time between Passover and Shavuot.
There’s some good reasons for it. Apparently in the time of Rabbi Akiva, 24,000 of his students died in a mysterious plague. Lag B’Omer was the day the plague ended, so why not celebrate?
Jews love camp and eating, so it makes sense that Lag B’Omer would involve picnics and bonfires. But really, Lag B’Omer symbolizes something really important that all people can get behind: sometimes, you just need a break.
I’m not talking about a Shabbat break. That’s not a real break: that’s a break from doing fun things to do holy things (that are sometimes fun, too). This is a break that doesn’t involve whacking your head against the wailing wall saying my favorite Jewish phrase, “they tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat.”
Sometimes fun needs to just be fun. Thank G-d for that.
And since I’m a fan of “laggin” on Lag B’Omer, here’s an old Lag B’Omer video. Enjoy!