Get into the spirit, Lag Ba’omer is in the air! Even the weather is cooperating. No need to look at your neighbors heading off to the airport with envy, you’ll be having a great time here at home!
There are so many ways to make Lag Ba’omer an exciting day for you and your family.
History and Reason for Celebration
First we need to understand what it is that we’re celebrating on Lag Ba’omer. In short, R’ Shimon Bar Yochai was one of the 5 disciples of Rabbi Akiva that remained alive after the great plague that killed 24,000 of his students. Rabbi Shimon brought the Holy Zohar to the world, which contain the deepest wisdoms of kabbalah, and on the day of his death, we celebrate the LIGHT of Torah he brought down.
Celebrating with Fire
Lag Ba’omer is synonymous with bonfires. Children and adults alike spend the days leading up to this day by collecting and building a bonfire that will be the pride of the neighborhood. Have you ever competed with other children to see who can build the biggest fire? At any age, there is a special excitement when the wood is lit and the whole crowd bursts into song, singing Amar Rebbi Akiva and Bar Yochai. Prepare the hot dogs, marshmallows, and of course skewers! (Of course, keep a special eye on your children when they get anywhere near fire. There’s nothing joyful about getting burnt. And watch out for those rusty nails 🙂
A more contemporary way to “fire up” the day is having a barbeque. Bring out the grill, the steaks and the lemonade! Turn on the music, it’s been a long while since we have last been allowed to hear it. And if the weather is really nice, how about some water fun? Fill up a kiddy pool and play bob the apple. How about a water balloon fight?
Join the pilgrimage to the park! Frolic on the grass, play a spirited game of ball, ride your bike, then sit down for a well-deserved picnic lunch or dinner on the grass. Be sure to prepare a pretty basket with all the supplies needed so that your time spent with family is relaxed and unpressured. Spread a blanket on the earth for a cozy feel and distribute pre-wrapped sandwiches for the least mess. Pack lemonade in small water bottles, enough for everybody. No more spills! Don’t forget napkins, plates and utensils.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can pull out your bow and arrow and practice sharp-shooting. This is to symbolize that a rainbow never came out in the time of Rabbi Shimon. Set up a target and show off how far you can shoot! See a friendly frum family near you? Challenge them to a tournament!
The days of Sefira are days of semi-mourning. When Lag Ba’omer comes around, Simchas are back in full swing! The music is booming, 3 year old children are getting their first haircut, and countless couples are walking down the aisle to their chuppah. Whatever the simchah is, live in the moment! Enjoy it fully and be an active participant. Invited to an ‘upsherin’ party? Can you prepare royal icing cookies in the shape of a little boy? Present your host with an adorable home-made treat. Check out this blog by Esther O Design for instructions on how to make these adorable cupcakes. Have a baking party with your children, you’ll never believe how much fun it could be!
Looking for something different? Head over to a chassidish rebbe’s tish! On a regular yom tov, it’s hard to go when you cannot drive. Now, on Lag Ba’omer, you will see unbridled joy and unparalleled dancing. You might even get to see a bonfire that can rival the size of the main fire on the mountain of Meron.
Chabad is known for its Great Parades! 770 Eastern Parkway and its surrounding blocks turns into fairgrounds with thousands of kids and adults participating in the revelry of the day. In the past, entertainment included such high profile entertainers as singers MBD and Benny Friedman. There were people riding on horseback, a marching band, clowns, acrobats and many other delightful sights and sounds. The shining faces of all participants make this the joyful place to be. Find out if there will be a parade in your area this year, if not, maybe you and a few of your friends can put something together? The hard work will pay off in sweet memories that will last a life time.
Whether you make a barbecue, have a picnic or join a parade, we hope you will experience the joy of the day. Remember to visit EZKosher.com for all your food supplies, you’ll be surprised at the variety and availability you can find.