Today is an important Jewish holiday, just in between Passover and Shavuot and a break from mourning of the Omer. A propitious day for weddings (the only day during the Omer when they are allowed) light bonfires and getting haircuts. Just a little preamble, Omer is a time of mourning and grief, in remembrance of a time in the past when a plague killed most of Rabbi Akiva’s students as divine punishment for lacking respect. This was a time when Rabbi Aiva led a rebellion and yet unsuccessful rebellion against the Roman yoke leaving thousands of casualties, therefore, it could be that the “Plague” was the Roman occupation that left so many youths lying cold on the battlefield.
The survivors went into hiding, prayer and contemplation and it is believe that this was the time the resplendent Zohar was written and created as grounds for the mystic Kabbalah.
The tradition on this day is to go outdoors, plant trees, light bonfires in remembrance of the light Simeon Bar Yohai brought to the world, and is also a very popular date for weddings. Although perhaps not one of the most important celebrations in Judaism is it indeed a noteworthy one to feel the pulse of community and communion with earth, resonating ancient traditions and with a foothold adapting to the present.
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