As we continue to count the days till Shavuot, this Wednesday night brings us to Lag BaOmer, the 33rd day of the Omer (lamed = 30 and gimmel = 3). Traditionally the period of the Omer is a solemn time. However, Lag BaOmer is historically associated with good things (the cessation of a first-century plague and the beginning of the revolt against Rome in 66 CE) and has, therefore, become a day of joy. Today in Israel it is a day of outdoor activities like picnics and barbecues and evening bonfires.
It is important that we remember and commemorate the origins of our observances, both Jewish and secular. At the end of this week many of us will kick-off our summer activities with Memorial Day, but let’s not forget that the holiday commemorates those who gave their lives in defense of our country and the values we cherish.
All of our traditions, may they be religious or civil, are important and are opportunities to connect with our past. May we find joy in our celebrations, and may all of our observances be meaningful ones.
Rabbi Sandra Bellush