Lag B’Omer

A number of reasons are given for commemorating Lag B’Omer:
1. It commemorates the students of Rav Akiva who ceased dying during this day (Shelah, Pesachim 525).
2. This day is the yahrtzeit of Rabi Shimon bar Yochai, who revealed the inner secrets of the Torah (Chayei Adam Mo’adim 131:11).
3. This is the day that Rav Akiva granted ordination to his five students — among them Rabi Shimon bar Yochai (Pri Chadash OC 493).

Haircuts:
According to the opinion of the Shulchan Aruch one may not take haircuts or get married until the thirty-fourth day of the omer in the morning. The Rama feels that one may get a haircut on Lag B’Omer. The Rama explains that one must wait for Lag B’Omer morning (after Neitz Hachama) to get a haircut. According to the Rama one would not be allowed to get a haircut on the night of Lag B’Omer. However, the Mishnah Berurah cites authorities who permit getting a haircut on the night of Lag B’Omer. Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l is cited as explaining that the second view feels that since there are bonfires and parties that take place tonight one would likewise be permitted to shave. For normative halacha, a rav should be consulted.

As noted in a previous post, according to the Arizal shaving is not allowed even on Lag B’Omer.

Counting Sefira:

1) On the night of Lag BOmer (after sunset), one who has not yet counted the sefira of Lag BOmer should avoid telling someone else that “tonight is Lag BOmer“, since doing so may be considered counting the omer. (See Shulchan Aruch 489:4) Harav Ben Tzion Abba Shaul zt”l rules that if one did say those words, he may still recite the sefira with a bracha since the person is not intending to count the day, but is rather referring to the name of the day. (Ohr Litzion vol. 3 chapter 16:4)

2) Harav Yitzchak Yosef shlit”a cites the above ruling and he adds that if one forgot to count the Omer the entire night and day of Lag BOmer, however, he mentioned in passing that “today is Lag BOmer” (e.g. he corrected the chazan who began to recite Tachanun that “today is LagBOmer“) he may continue to recite Sefira the following nights with a bracha. Post facto we can consider the statement of “Today is Lag BOmer” as a fulfillment of counting the Omer to allow him to continue to count with a bracha on the following nights.

Kevarim:

1) It is well known that there is a custom to go to the Kever of Rav Shimon Ben Yochai (or Rashbi) on Lag BOmer. Some poskim write that if one is in America and unable to go to the Kever Rashbi, he should try to daven at the grave of other tzaddikim. (Netai Gavriel Pesach vol. 3 page 342)

2) The consensus of the poskim is that kohanim may not go to the graves of tzaddikim, such as Rashbi. And that although there are indications from a few midrashim that the graves of tzaddikim do not transmit tumah, this should not be relied upon for normative halacha. (See Pischei Teshuva Y.D. 372:2, Sdei Chemed vol. 9 page 65, Paas Hashulchan 2:18, Yechava Daas 4:58, Yaskil Avdi 8 page 192, Shaarei Halacha Uminhag 150, Halichos Shlomo Moadim Pesach page 366 and Minchas Asher Chukas.
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