Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mourning during the Omer period


During the Omer period we observe a mourning period commemorating the mass deaths of twenty-four thousand students of Rabbi Akiva, who all died during a period of time associated with the Omer. It is not clear whether they died during the beginning or end of the Omer, so some people observe this period of mourning between the end of Passover and Lag ba'Omer, others between the beginning of the month of Iyyar and Shavuot.

The Talmud teaches that the students were punished for not showing each other appropriate respect; surely this is something that is worth mourning even two thousand years later.

During this period we do not hold weddings, although one may get engaged.

(Code of Jewish Law Orach Chaim 493:1)

Have a good Yom Tov,

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