Every year I discover new dimension in the Jewish calendar, sparking my curiosity about some ancient custom or ritual and looking for meaning and application in my everyday life. Enter Lag B’Omer. This year, my next haircut is getting spiritual.

Lag B’Omer? Say What?
Lag B’Omer is a Hebrew calendar date, the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer, the 49 days in between Passover and Shavuot – the celebration of getting the Torah. This period of Jewish time is marked with numerous customs of counting, reflection, and some restrictions including holding off on hair trimming and getting married. This year, it begins this Wednesday, May 22 and lasts through sunset on Thursday.

But WHY?
In our ancient history and folklore, the 49 days of the Omer is marked as a semi-mourning period commemorating the story of the Bar Kochba Revolt – said to have wiped out a large part of the Jewish population 132CE. And stories of Rabbi Akiba and his students and Rabbi Simeon Bar Yochai that end in loss and tragedy are also retold during the Omer. So, Jewish customs during the Omer include numerous restrictions including not getting married during this time and not getting your haircut. ALL of these restrictions, however, are lifted on this 33rd day of the Omer. In many places, Lag B’Omer has evolved into an all out party with bonfires, food, cook-outs, live music, and haircuts. No restrictions, let’s party!

But what about me?
Let’s be clear – if you don’t subscribe to the ancient history that ultimately created the framework for the traditional celebration of Lag B’Omer, that’s okay! There are many more ways to connect. This is a time of spiritual awareness on the Jewish calendar. The time to get intentional with your actions toward yourself and others. Check this out for daily teachings and blessings for the Omer.

You could also join Mishkan Chicago for a trim, spirit, and grilled cheese sandwich at Blind Barber on May 22nd. For me – with a beard that hasn’t been cut since Passover – this beard-sculpt will transform my face and my spiritual orientation. I can’t wait. I always feel refreshed and revitalized after a haircut, but on this day it’s all the more so.

This. Is. Your. Chance. To pause, lift yourself up, and click into Jewish time for a little levity, love, inspiration, and meaning.