When does the mourning period of the Omer start and end?
by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg
The Omer is a period of mourning; 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiba (1st-2nd Century sage and one of the greatest Jewish leaders of all time) passed away during the Omer period.
There are altogether only 33 days of mourning, but there are several opinions regarding when these 33 days are:
1. From Pesach until, but not including, Lag b'Omer.
2. From Pesach until the morning after Lag b'Omer.
3. From Rosh Chodesh Iyar through the 2nd day of Sivan, excluding Lag b'Omer.
The Omer is a period of mourning; 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiba (1st-2nd Century sage and one of the greatest Jewish leaders of all time) passed away during the Omer period4. From the 2nd day of Iyar until Shavuot, excluding Lag b'Omer.
Everyone is obligated to follow the custom of his community in this matter. If one's community does not have an established custom, one can choose whichever opinion he/she fancies.
Certain communities, including Chabad, observe the Omer mourning period from Passover through the 2nd of Sivan (except for Lag b'Omer), in order to be in accordance with all the abovementioned opinions. This custom is also in concurrence with Kabbalah.
See also What exactly is prohibited during the Omer mourning period?
[This year, 2008, the second day of Passover will be Monday, April 21st. The first day of Rosh Chodesh Iyar will be Monday, May 5th. The second of Iyar will be two days later, on Wednesday. Lag b'Omer will be Friday, May 23rd . The second of Sivan will be Thursday, June 5th.]
Holidays » Lag B'Omer
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