Meron Celebration

The Laag B’omer Purim Connection

The Laag B’omer Purim Connection

Did you know that Laag B’omer is always on the same day of the week as the preceding Purim? This can’t happen randomly. In fact, there’s is a very meaningful connection between Purim and Laag B’omer.

The 49 days of counting sefirat ha’omer connect the Pesach and Shavuot holidays. On Pesach we celebrate and memorialize our physical freedom from bondage in Egypt, and on Shavuot our spiritual freedom gained by receiving the Torah. The festivals are not merely a commemoration of what happened in the distant past. Rather, they are a new commitment to free ourselves of physical bonds and accepting the Torah each and every year.

The way to achieve this freedom is by implementing the 48 Steps to Torah Integration taught in Pirkei Avot 6:6. Each day of sefirat ha’omer is dedicated to achieving one of the 48 steps. The 49th day is dedicated to reviewing and incorporating all steps combined. Finally, the 50th day is Shavuot when all is unified and we attain complete integration with the Torah.

The 48 ways through which Torah is acquired are: study, listening, verbalizing, comprehension of the heart, awe, fear, humility, joy, purity, serving the sages, companionship with contemporaries, debating with students, tranquility, study of the scriptures, study of the Mishnah, reducing business engagement, reducing socializing, reducing pleasure, reducing sleep, reducing chatter, reducing merrymaking, slowness to anger, kindheartedness, belief in the Torah sages, acceptance of suffering, knowing one’s place, satisfaction with one’s lot, limiting one’s words, not taking credit for oneself, well liked, love of G‑d, love of humanity, love of charity, love of justice, love of rebuke, fleeing from honor, lack of arrogance in learning, reluctance to hand down rulings, easing the burden of one’s fellow, judging to the side of merit, correcting others, bringing others to a peaceful resolution [of disputes], careful consideration in study, asking and answering, listening and illuminating, learning in order to teach, learning in order to observe, making one’s teacher wiser, precision in conveying a teaching and saying something in the name of its speaker. 

For an in depth discussion of the 48 pathways to Torah click here.

It’s interesting that most of the steps deal with refining  our character traits. Rav Chaim Vital explains in Shaarei Kedusha (1:2), that proper middot (character traits) are the seat and foundation for a person to fulfill the Torah commandments.

The 33rd pathway to Torah is love of charity and doing charitable deeds. The 33rd day of sefirat ha’omer is laag b’omer. Laag be’omer is the day dedicated to hone in on perfecting our giving charity  in our journey to become one with Hashem and His Torah. Actually, giving charity is a prerequisite to acquiring Torah.

As pointed out, Purim is always the same day of the week as the following laag b’omer. Amazingly these two days share an identical message. In Kabbalah, Purim and laag b’omer both corresponds to the sefirah of Hod with laag b’omer conforming to Hod Shebe-hod. One of the principle obligations of Purim is giving gifts to the needy.  

From this we can deduce that on Laag b’omer is the day devoted to giving tzedakah in our desire to achieve the 48 steps to Torah integration.

In the generation before Mashiach's arrival, giving charity is the highest form of serving Hashem. This is because the Jewish nation will be redeemed only by charitable acts.

Ramban

One is obligated to give charity to women before men because it is much easier for a man to seek work or collect funds. Additionally a woman is humiliated by begging.

Menorat Hameor (14th Century)

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