Lag BaOmer

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On the day of Lag BeOmer we increase our level of celebration a little. Some of the reasons for this practice include: on Lag BaOmer the students of Rabbi Akiva stopped dying, [1] Lag BaOmer is the Hilulah (anniversary of the passing) of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai,[2] Lag BaOmer is the day that Rabbi Akiva gave Semicha to his new students [3], and is the day that the Maan began to fall in the desert. [4]

Tefillah

  1. Tachanun is omitted on Lag BaOmer. It is also omitted at Mincha of the day before Lag BaOmer. [5]
  2. If Lag BaOmer falls out on Sunday then there’s no Tzidkatcha at Mincha of Shabbat. [6]
  3. One shouldn’t fast on Lag BeOmer. [7] However, if one’s wedding is that day one may fast on Lag BaOmer. [8]

Music

  1. Music and dancing are permitted in order to honor the Hilulah of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. [9]

Taking a haircut

  1. Ashkenazim may cut their hair on the morning of Lag BaOmer. [10] while some are lenient to permit it from the night of Lag BaOmer. [11]Sephardim shouldn’t cut their hair until the morning of the 34th of the Omer. [12]
  2. According to Ashkenazim, if Lag BaOmer falls out on Sunday then it’s permissible to cut one’s hair on Friday for kavod Shabbat. [13] Some say it’s preferable to do so after Chatzot (halachic midday). [14]

Practices of Lag BaOmer

  1. Some Gedolim were very opposed to burning clothing because of Baal Tashchit (prohibition of wasting), while others defend the minhag. [15]
  2. Kohanim shouldn’t go into the Kever of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in Meyron. [16]

Sources

  1. Meiri Yevamot 62b, Kitzur S”A 120:6
  2. Chida in Moreh Etzbah 223
  3. Pri Chadash 493, Kaf HaChaim 493:26
  4. Sh”t Chatom Sofer Y”D 233
  5. Rama 493:2, Mishna Brurah 493:9, Natai Gavriel (Pesach vol 3, 58:3)
  6. Levush 493, Natai Gavriel (Pesach vol 3, 58:4)
  7. Natai Gavriel (Pesach vol 3, 59:5) based on Meiri Yevamot 62b
  8. Halichot Shlomo 11:22
  9. Yalkut Yosef 493:9. Natai Gavriel (Pesach vol 3, 58:11) just writes that music and dancing altogether are permitted. He cites the Pri Megadim E”A 493:1 and Kaf HaChaim 493:9. However, those sources seem to be dealing with the days in between Rosh Chodesh Sivan and Shavuot. Yet, they may be similar to Lag BeOmer in that we don't say Tachanun perhaps granted them a quasi-holiday status.
  10. Rama 493:2
  11. Mishna Brurah 493:11 quoting the Eliyah Rabba
  12. S”A 493:2
  13. Rama 493:2. See Bear Hetiev 493:6 quotes those who are strict but ends off that if the minhag is to be lenient one doesn’t need to be strict.
  14. Halichot Shlomo (Chapter 11 note 79)
  15. Natai Gavriel (Pesach vol 3, 59:13)
  16. Halichot Shlomo 11:23