A comparatively minor holiday celebrated in the middle of counting the Omer, this day between Passover and Shavuot is celebrated by Jews around the world with traditions including bonfires, weddings, and haircuts. During the days between Passover and Shavuot – days in which we count the Omer – Jews often refrain from things like weddings and haircuts.
Lag B’Omer is a pause to those muted daily choices to light the fire, lean into love, and celebrate milestones with our communities.
This year, counting the Omer has felt a lot like counting the days until I feel safe enough to ‘go out’ of quarantine. The space between these days and the after-times is getting ever smaller, and I am trying to find ways to prepare myself to move forward to something new. It is time for the long-awaited haircuts in my household to mark that occasion. I am so excited to connect with this tradition of centuries in also stepping into a space that is unknown for all of us.
So, if you’re looking for a sign that today is the day to cut off the man-bun, or get the bangs, or just whack back your quarantine hermit look – this is it!
If you’ve read my blogs in the past few months, you may know that we use fire to symbolize a lot of things in our household. From the bonfires in the winter to chase away the darkness, to lighting candles for Shabbat and Havdalah, the experience of lighting a spark can be cleansing, warming, and a good excuse to pause and experience the moment. That spark is also a metaphor we use for reigniting our passions and interests in a time in which they may have become stagnant.
In a ‘pause’ in the rush between the holidays, what causes you to feel that ‘spark’ of excitement or joy?
Even when inspiration can feel like a very dry well, lighting a tiny spark is how the most beautiful bonfires always start. The dry tinder can never catch without a push. Where can you find it, and how do we include it in our everyday lives?
Lag B’Omer is traditionally the only day during the counting of the Omer in which traditionally observant Jews can get married. That means there’s a TON of weddings to celebrate, and a lot of anniversaries! While you (and I) may not have gotten married on Lag B’Omer, it’s a great excuse to celebrate your love or that of a friend or family member. Some ideas:
Especially in a year like this one, gratitude for the love in your life can feel really important.
Whenever there are less-known holidays like this, I sometimes feel frustrated about how disconnected I can feel from the Jewish community. But whether you have to check the calendar to see if there’s something to celebrate, or just decide that today needs a boost to your ‘kavanah’ (your intention) to going through your regular day. Really, however you’re finding inspiration, love, and joy this spring; there’s a lot of interesting Jewish rituals and traditions that can help lead the way!
About the Author: Andrea Deck is a DC native who currently works with HoneymoonIsrael, helping to make the Jewish community more accessible to couples around the DMV. She also loves to connect to the incredible and diverse community of Jewish women in the DMV through organizations like Svivah and JWI. In her “down” time, she lives with her husband in Adams Morgan and loves coffee, knitting, and everything DC.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.