"Tu" (the Hebrew abbreviation of 15th) in the month of Shvat was set (Hillel's opinion generally overrules Shammai's) as the beginning of the tithable year for tree fruit: Calculating the tithe on fruit starts again for fruit that sets after that date.
Lag BaOmer was completely off our radar when we lived in the United States. We never had any real exposure to it until we made Aliyah, and now its approach is easily recognizable by kids walking down the street, schlepping huge pieces of wood, old furniture, sticks, and anything else that burns.
Lag BaOmer is a break, a time out, a moment to recall an ancient plague that may or may not have occurred, and perhaps a moment for reflection.
The Hebrew letter equivalent of 33 is pronounced Lag (lamed gimel), giving rise to the name Lag BaOmer for this particular day. There is no one particular reason that this day stands out from the other 48 days counted between Pesach and Shavuot, yet many fascinating traditions surround the special nature of this day.
Purim is just around the corner. Your congregation is making plans for the celebration, whether those plans include a carnival or a spiel, there is a sense of excitement in the air. These festivities are rooted in the Bible, more specifically in M’gillat Esther.
Every story has its music. The story of Esther, told on Purim, has music – the cantillation of the Megillah (scroll of Esther). But every piece of music also has its story. This essay will share some of the fascinating story behind how we chant parts of the Megillah.
In my household, Purim has been the holiday in which I have taken something “traditional” and turned in on its head!
Here is the quintessential Jewish question: How do we emulate God? We are told that we were created by God. We are told that we have a divine spark within us.
Driving across the Jezreel Valley these days, you can't miss the biblical echoes of the landscape. On Pesach we are to eat only cereal products made from the last year's harvest, baked with no leavening – and at the same time we are to clean out completely any remnants of any grain products from the old supply.