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    Lag B’omer
    Lag B’omer is a
    day which people
    celebrate with great
    simcha and joy.
    What is the reason for
    this great celebration?
    When does it start? At
    night or by day? Why
    do so many people
    go to Meron on Lag

    Should one go to Meron for an Upsherin?
    All these questions and many others will be
    discussed in this issue.
    Lag B’omer will always fall out on the
    same day of the week as Purim.
    What Happened on Lag B’omer
    Many different happenings took place on
    Lag B’omer. Some say it is the day Rav
    Shimon Bar Yochai came out of the cave
    that he and his son were in for thirteen
    years.Rav Shimon Bar Yochai died on Lag
    B’omer and revealed to us the Zohar. The
    Rama also died on Lag B’omer and many
    have the custom to go to his kever on Lag
    The Simcha of Lag B’omer
    On Lag B’omer we are happy. Some say
    the reason is because the talmidim of
    Rav Akiva who died throughout the days
    following Pesach stopped dying on Lag
    B’omer. Some poskim ask if so many
    talmidim died why is this a reason to be
    happy? The answer may be we are happy
    that the talmidim which Rav Akiva acquired
    afterwards did not die. The talmidim of
    Rav Akiva died because they did not show
    respect to each other. Some say they spoke
    loshon hara about each other. Others say
    although each talmid grew to higher levels
    of Torah, they were treated by each other as
    if they had not grown at all, because they

    were still friendly from the olden days.
    Others say the reason is to show honor for
    Rav Shimon Bar Yochai. Some say the mon
    started to fall on Lag B’omer. Others say
    the reason for the joy is based on reasons
    of kabbalah.
    The Greatness of the Day
    Lag B’omer is a segula for parnasa. Some
    say it brings one to yiras shomayim. It is
    a day for one to ask for his needs through
    tefilla. It is a day where one can ask for
    salvation in any area of life.
    Meron and Lag B’omer
    The custom to go to Meron on Lag B’omer
    dates back to the Rishonim. One should
    not go to Meron by himself. Some say
    going three days before and after has some
    meaning as well. Although some question
    the inyun of going to Meron on Lag
    B’omer, the custom is to go. It would seem
    that one who does not live in Eretz Yisroel
    does not have to be matriach himself to go
    to Meron on Lag B’omer. One who can not
    go to Meron should learn the teachings of
    Rav Shimon Bar Yochai.
    Today, when one goes to Meron he can
    see animals being shechted on the side of
    the road. One should make sure that these
    animals are shechted properly and salted
    etc according to halacha. This is usually not
    the case, and one should be careful not to
    eat from animals that were shechted in this
    way. Furthermore, when going to Meron
    one should be careful to avoid the areas that
    people walk around dressed immodestly.
    Lag B’omer and Rav Shimon Bar Yochai
    Any person who is asked will tell you
    that Lag B’omer is the day that hundreds
    of thousands of people go to Meron to the
    kever of Rav Shimon Bar Yochai. Why is
    this so?
    As mentioned earlier, Rav Shimon Bar
    Yochai was niftar on Lag B’omer.
    Normally when a tzadik dies the
    yartzeit is not a day of simcha and
    joy, rather one fasts. However, Rav
    Shimon Bar Yochai is different. Before
    he was niftar he called his students
    and revealed to them the secrets of
    the Torah. These secrets were written
    down and are contained in the Zohar.
    Therefore, we are extra happy and
    rejoice on the day that these secrets
    were given to us. Others say since a
    miracle happened to Rav Shimon Bar
    Yochai that he did not die when he was
    in the cave, we celebrate his yartzeit
    by being happy. The day Rav Shimon
    Bar Yochai died three-thousand
    halachos were introduced. This is
    another reason why we are happy on
    Lag B’omer.
    Anytime it says in the Gemorah Rav

    Shimon without any other name,
    it means Rav Shimon Bar Yochai.
    He was the talmid of Rav Akiva
    and Rav Yehoshua.
    The day that he was niftar is
    referred to as the “yom hilulei” of
    Rav Shimon Bar Yochai.
    Tachnun on Lag B’omer
    Tachnun is not recited both on Lag
    B’omer and on the day before at
    mincha which is the thirty second
    day of the omer. One recites
    lam’natz’eiach yancha etc. on
    Lag B’omer. However, others say that it
    should not be recited;[39] this is not the
    overwhelming custom. When Lag B’omer
    falls out on Sunday (as it does this year)
    one does not recite tzidkascha tzedek at
    mincha on Shabbos.
    One may fast for tannis chalom on Lag
    ’omer. One should not fast for a yartzeit on
    Lag B’omer.
    When getting married on Lag B’omer
    those who have the custom to fast on their
    wedding day should do so. Others are
    lenient. Even one who did not fast should
    still say viduy at mincha. When a fast day
    precedes the day of the chuppah one should
    still fast on the day of the chuppah. The
    same would apply if a fast follows the day
    of the chuppah.
    The custom is that one is permitted to get
    married on Lag B’omer. Some say that the
    only time that one may get married on Lag
    B’omer is by day. The Sefardim have the
    custom to marry on the thirty-fourth day
    of the omer. The overwhelming custom is
    that one may get married the night of Lag
    B’omer.However others have the custom
    not to get married on Lag B’omer as well.
    A wedding that started on Lag B’omer by
    day may continue into the night. Dancing
    and music are permitted at a wedding on
    Lag B’omer.
    It is interesting to point out that one who
    goes to a chasana during the time he is
    observing the restrictions of sefira may
    only dance after the chosson and kallah
    come out from taking pictures, since before
    they come out the dancing is not considered
    being mes’ameach the chosson and kallah.
    Even those who hold like the Arizal and
    are noheg the issur of taking haircuts on all
    days of sefira, may make a wedding on Lag
    B’omer. No weddings are permitted on the
    night before the thirty second day.
    According to the opinion of the Mechaber
    one may not take haircuts until the thirty
    fourth day in the morning. The Rama holds

    one may shave on Lag B’omer. Many
    say this means even at night (because no
    tachnun is said already from erev Lag
    B’omer), while others say it means first
    thing in the morning because if one waits
    a little in the morning it is as if one waited
    a whole day. This is known as miktzas
    hayom k’kula. The custom of many seems
    to be that shaving or taking a haircut is
    permitted after neitz hachama.
    When Lag B’omer falls out on Sunday (as
    it does this year) shaving etc is permitted
    on Friday because of kovod for Shabbos.
    The reason why it is kovod for Shabbos is
    because by the mincha before Lag B’omer
    one does not say tachnun, so technically
    shaving would permitted on Shabbos, but
    since one can not do so, the allowance is
    pushed back to Friday. One may not shave
    etc. on Motzei Shabbos when Lag B’omer
    falls out on Sunday. Furthermore, many say
    that shaving etc. in the above situation is
    not permitted on Thursday night if one has
    time to do it on Friday. One who started
    shaving etc. on Lag B’omer may continue
    after shekia as well (even if he holds no
    shaving after Lag B’omer).
    According to the opinion of the Arizal
    shaving is not allowed even on Lag B’omer.
    Shaving is permitted on Erev Shavuos even
    for those who go with the Arizal’s opinion.
    Meron and Upsherin
    Hundreds, if not thousands of people,
    cut their children’s hair in Meron on Lag
    B’omer. This was the custom of the Arizal.
    Some say the reason is because the holiness
    of Rav Shimon Bar Yochai should be a
    zechus for the child. Others say the reason
    is because hair is part of the yetzer hara and
    this was taught to us by Rav Shimon bar
    Yochai when he gave us the Zohar. Many
    have the custom to go to Meron on Lag
    B’omer and cut the child’s hair even before
    the child has actually reached the age of
    three. Others say only if the child was born
    during sefira should one go to Meron. If
    sefira then one should not go to Meron to
    cut his hair. Some question the reason to go
    cut hair at a kever of any tzadik.
    Saying “Today is Lag B’omer”
    Some poskim say one who has not yet

    counted the sefira of Lag B’omer should
    avoid telling someone else today is Lag
    B’omer, since doing so may be considered
    counting the day. Other poskim permit this
    since his intention is not to count the day,
    rather he is referring to the name of the day
    since it is a day of simcha. This seems to be
    the minhag ha’olom.
    “Chai Rotel”
    Something which one finds when visiting
    Meron is the drink called “Chai Rotel.”
    The Bobov Rebbe zt”l said that one who
    gives out this mashka on Lag B’omer is
    zocheh to great things including children.
    Many people who can’t attend Meron on
    Lag B’omer to hand out the mashka pay
    people to hand it out for them. Chai Rotel
    is an ancient Israeli measurement which
    today is equivalent to 54 liters. The minhag
    used to be to hand out only wine or grape
    juice. However, today water and soda are
    also handed out.
    Some say the reason for bonfires on Lag
    B’omer is because when Rav Shimon Bar
    Yochai revealed the secrets of the Torah
    to us, he brought light to the world, so we
    make light in his honor. Others say the
    reason is as a remembrance of the fire that

    surrounded Rav Shimon Bar Yochai while
    he was in the cave.
    Some have the minhag in Meron to throw
    garments in the fire on Lag B’omer. Some
    say the reason is because Rav Shimon Bar
    Yochai did not wear clothes when he was
    in the cave, and when he wanted to learn
    he would cover his body in sand. Those
    who permit this say there is no bal tashchis
    by throwing the garments in the fire,while
    others say that throwing the garments in
    the fire is indeed bal tashchis.The minhag
    today seems to be that no one throws any
    garments in the fire.
    Night or Day
    Many have the custom to make the bonfires
    (and dancing) on the night of Lag B’omer.
    Others say that the simcha should start by
    day.However, it seems that because of Rav
    Shimon Bar Yochai the minhag is to do the
    bonfire and dancing etc at night all over the
    world not only in Meron. However, music
    not accompanied by a bonfire should not
    be listened to until the next day after neitz
    Bows and Arrows
    On Lag B’omer the custom of many is
    to shoot bows and arrows. One reason is
    because Hashem shows a rainbow (keshes)

    in the sky when He wants to
    destroy us, but the rainbow is
    the simon that he will not do
    so. In the generation of a few
    people a rainbow was not shown
    because of their merit. One of
    those people was Rav Shimon Bar
    Yochai. Many tzadikim have the
    custom to shoot a bow and arrow
    (representing a rainbow) as well.
    Some say since Lag B’omer is a
    day that is fit for one’s tefillas to
    be answered we shoot a bow and
    arrow. The beginning words of
    shema kol tefilaseinu spells keshes
    The Bar Yochai Song
    On Lag B’omer many people have the
    minhag to sing Bar Yochai, which was
    composed by the mekubel Rav Shimon
    Ben Labia who died in 1584. Many people
    have the custom to sing this song every
    week in the zemiros of Shabbos.Some say
    the reason for this is because Rav Shimon
    Bar Yochai was called Shabbos.
    Rabbi Akiva
    Umar Rabbi Akiva etc. is popularly sung
    on Lag B’omer since the ideas expressed
    in the Mishnah coincide with the purpose

    of sefira, a period of spiritual cleaning in
    preparation for Shavuos. These words are
    taken from the last Mishnah in Yoma.
    Lag B’omer on Sunday
    There is a discussion in the poskim when
    Lag B’omer falls out on Sunday if the
    bonfires can be made on Motzei Shabbos.
    The reason for the discussion is because
    they are made on Motzei Shabbos the
    police etc may have to be mechalel Shabbos
    to prepare for the event (this is especially
    applicable in Meron where there are many
    Jewish police officers). The minhag seems
    to be lenient with this.