Day 33: Life and Light


Dear Rabbi, I know that Lag B’Omer is on the 33rd day of the Omer. What is the holiday of Lag Omer all about and when is it this year? Thanks



  1. Two significant events occurred on this date, and though separated by many years, they both contribute to its special status. On the thirty-third day of the counting of the Omer, the epidemic rampant among Rabbi Akiva’s students abruptly ceased. Because the epidemic lasted 33 days, the common custom is to observe 33 days of semi-mourning during the Omer period, ending on Lag B’Omer.

    This year the day of Lag B’Omer will begin on Thursday, April 29, 2021.

    It is customary to mark this day with festive practices. The most colorful of these is a grand celebration of Mount Meron in Israel, at the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar (son of) Yochai. Why Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai?

    The greatest scholar of the Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) who ever lived, Rabbi Shimon died on Lag B’Omer, and on that day he revealed many of the deepest ideas of the Kabbalah to his students. They recorded his teachings in a book known as the Zohar, which is Aramaic for “The Light.” Ancient Jewish custom dictates that the anniversary of the death of a great scholar should be noted as a means of inspiring people with his lessons and teaching.

    For hundreds of years on Lag B’Omer, people have gone to the grave of Rabbi Shimon on Mount Meron in the Galilee region. They celebrate there (and in many other places) by lighting bonfires. The light of these bonfires symbolizes the light of Torah that Rabbi Shimon revealed. Celebrations also include dancing, singing and studying Rabbi Shimon’s teachings. Today it is common to see people all over Israel celebrating Lag B’Omer with bonfires and singing, while at Mount Meron, hundreds of thousands participate in the festivities.

    Best wishes from the Team