Apr 13, 2002 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Lag Ba'omer | Yom Hazikaron-Yom Ha'atzma'ut
The Jewish calendar is more than a catechism of our faith. It is also a synopsis of our history. The biblical festivals of Pesah and Shavuot frame the period of the Omer, which is laden with days of commemoration of events that are all post-biblical, indeed largely set in the twentieth century. We move quickly on an emotional roller coaster from Yom Hashoah five days after the end of Pesah (27 Nisan) to Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzma’ut the following week (4 and 5 Iyar) to Lag Baomer thirteen days later (18 Iyar). The linkage between the Holocaust and Israel, embodied in the first three commemoratives, is surely warranted.
May 16, 1998 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Emor | Lag Ba'omer
Jews mark the period between the festivals of Passover and Shavuot by the counting of the omer. For a period of 49 days, beginning on 16 Nisan, for us in the diaspora the night of the second Seder, we count each day at the evening service (the start of a new day in the Jewish calendar) in terms of the days and weeks that have passed. This brief ceremony opens with the verse in this week’s parasha that sets forth the prescription: “And from the day on which you bring the sheaf of elevation – the day after the sabbath – you shall count off seven weeks. They must be complete: you must count until the day after the seventh week – fifty days (Leviticus 23:15–16).”Read More