Lag B'Omer is a holiday that occurs on the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer, which occurs on the 18th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar. It is a festive day on the Jewish calendar and is celebrated with outings (on which the children traditionally play with bows and arrows), bonfires, rallies, parades, and other joyous events. The Hebrew בלג בעמר, Lag B'Omer, literally means On the 33rd of the Omer.
The most well-known custom of Lag B'Omer is the lighting of bonfires throughout Israel and worldwide wherever religious Jews can be found. In Meron, the burial place of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his son, Rabbi Elazar, hundreds of thousands of Jews gather throughout the night and day to celebrate with bonfires, torches, song and feasting. This was a specific request by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai of his students. Some say that as Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai gave spiritual light to the world with the revelation of the Zohar, bonfires are lit to symbolize the impact of his teachings. As his passing left such a "light" behind, many candles and/or bonfires are lit.
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was also known by the acronym Rashbi, formed from the first letters of his name. He lived in the second century of the common era and was the first to publicly teach the mystical dimension of the Torah known as the Kabbalah. Religious people consider him as the author of the basic work of Kabbalah, The Zohar. On the day of his passing, Rabbi Shimon instructed his disciples to mark the date as "the day of my joy."
The chassidic masters explain that the final day of a righteous person's earthly life marks the point at which "all his deeds, teachings and work" achieve their culminating perfection and the zenith of their impact upon our lives. So each Lag BaOmer, we celebrate Rabbi Shimon's life and the revelation of the esoteric soul of Torah. The bonfires are symbolic of the soul of the Torah.
The Counting of the Omer is based on the following Leviticus and Deuteronomy passages:
You shall count for yourselves -- from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving -- seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh sabbath you shall count, fifty days. -Leviticus 23:15-16
You shall count for yourselves seven weeks, from when the sickle is first put to the standing crop shall you begin counting seven weeks. Then you will observe the Festival of Shavu'ot for the Lord, your God. -Deuteronomy 16:9-10
The "Omer" is the biblical unit of measure used for grains. An omer of barley was offered in the temple on the second day of Passover and on the 50th day, two loaves of wheat bread were offered in the temple and signaled the beginning of the wheat harvest. The 49 days of the Omer correspond both to the time between physical emancipation from Egypt and the spiritual liberation of the giving of the Torah at the foot of Mount Sinai on Shavuot, as well as the time between the barley harvest and the wheat harvest in ancient Israel.
During the time of Rabbi Akiva, 24,000 of his students died by a divinely sent plague during the first 32 days of the counting of the omer. The plague stopped on the 33rd day.
The Kabbalah of Lag B'Omer
In Kabbalah, light is a metaphor for the wisdom by which we can draw close to God. This light is the light of Torah. Shimon bar Yochai was a Kabbalist and his principal concern was teaching his students how to draw close to God. On the anniversary of his death, the entire Light that he and his students absorbed is freed and made available to all the other souls. On Lag B'Omer this Light becomes like an illumination, like the surrounding Light that he gives to others.
On Lag B'Omer we are happy about receiving this upper Light, Light which is in the writings of The Zohar, Light that is capable of correcting all the souls, of connecting and elevating every person to move closer to God. That is why this holiday is called the holiday of Light - the Light that reforms, the Light of correction, the Light of elevation.
Rabbi Glazerson chose key words On the 33rd of the Omer Light, Light of Torah, Kabbalah, HaRashbi, Meron, and 18th of Ayar. The usual way to write the number 18 is יח. But the number 18, has the gematria value of Chai, חי, the Hebrew word for life. So it is not unusual to see the Hebrew date for Lag B'Omer written as חי איר as well as יח איר. The same tradition also happens with the Hebrew data 18th of Elul, which is the birthdate of the Baal Shem Tov and the birth date of the Alter Rebbe, Shneur Zalman, who started the Chabad branch of Chasidut. The 18th of Elul can be written as יח אלול as well as חי אלול.
Using the axis protocol with the axis key word being On the 33rd of the Omer Light, ELSs of these key words or key word phrases, in occurred in a compact table which we show below.