Halacha for Monday 17 Iyar 5780 May 11 2020

The 33rd and 34th Days of the Omer

What Occurred on the 33rd Day of the Omer?
Tomorrow (meaning beginning from tonight), G-d willing, will mark the 33rd day of the Omer (commonly known as Lag Ba’Omer), which is celebrated amid great joy and when Tachanun (confessional prayer found after the Amida prayer) is omitted for it marks the day when the secrets of the Torah were revealed, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was saved from his death sentence and Rabbi Akiva started teaching his five students that would eventually spread the Torah to the rest of the world, as we have already discussed. This is based on the words of the Poskim, the saintly Ari z”l, and Maran Ha’Chida.

Mourning Customs on the 33rd Day of the Omer
Regarding all of the customs of mourning that have been customarily observed during the Omer period (due to the passing of the students of Rabbi Akiva), for instance, abstaining from getting married, taking haircuts, and shaving, there is a dispute among the Poskim whether these customs must be observed until the 33rd day of the Omer or until the 34th day of the Omer (i.e. the morning of the 34th).

The custom of the Ashkenazim is to permit weddings beginning from the night of the 33rd of the Omer, for they are of the opinion that Rabbi Akiva’s disciples ceased dying on the 33rd of the Omer. This is indeed the ruling of the Rama (Chapter 493) in the name of several Rishonim (including the author of the Sefer Ha’Manhig) who have accepted by way of oral tradition that the students of Rabbi Akiva stopped dying on the 33rd day of the Omer. Some Ashkenazim have the custom to permit weddings even from the night of the 33rd of the Omer.

Nevertheless, the Sephardic custom is to abstain from holding weddings or taking haircuts until the morning of the 34th day of the Omer, which falls out this year, 5780, this coming Wednesday morning, G-d willing.

The reason why we customarily abstain from these things until the 34th of the Omer is based on the words of the Sefer Ha’Manhig (page 72b, authored by Rabbeinu Avraham bar Natan Ha’Yarchi, the Ra’avan, who lived in Lonil and passed away in the year 4975 [1215]) in the name of Rabbeinu Zerachya Ha’Levi (the Razah, Ba’al Ha’Maor) who found in an early manuscript found in Spain, that all of Rabbi Akiva’s students passed away from Pesach until “Half of Shavuot,” and this refers to half of the period prior to Shavuot, which is thirty days, as the Mishnah tells us, “One must begin to inquire about the laws of Pesach thirty days before the holiday”; thus, half of thirty is fifteen days before the holiday of Shavuot. Several other Rishonim write accordingly. Thus, if we subtract fifteen from the forty-nine days between Pesach and Shavuot, the difference is thirty-four. Nevertheless, beginning from the morning of the 34th day of the Omer, it is already permissible to hold weddings, for regarding mourning, the rule is “A portion of the day is considered like the entire day” and since some of the 34th day has already passed, one need not continue to observe the mourning customs.

May the merits of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his son, Rabbi Elazar, protect us all and may we all merit repenting fully and taking part in the Final Redemption, speedily and in our days, Amen.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Holiday of Shavuot- Teachings of Kindness

The Torah introduces the momentous event of the giving of the Torah to the Jewish nation with the verse (Shemot 19), “On the third month from when the children of Israel left Egypt, on this day they arrived at the Sinai desert.” Our Sages in the Pesikta ask: Why is it that the Torah w......

Read Halacha

“Shover Oyevim U’Machnia Zedim” (The Twelfth Blessing of the Amida)

Question: In the Blessing regarding the heretics in the daily Amida prayer, how should one end the twelfth blessing: “Shover Oyevim U’Machnia Zedim” (He who smashes enemies and humbles the wicked) or “Shover Oyevim U’Machnia Minim” (He who smashes enemies and humb......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Fire on Yom Tov

In previous Halachot we have explained that Yom Tov and Shabbat are equal regarding all prohibitions besides for certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking, which are permitted on Yom Tov. Igniting a Flame One may not produce a new fire on Yom Tov, for instance by strik......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Cooking on Yom Tov

In the previous Halachot we have explained that although Shabbat and Yom Tov are equal in their prohibition to perform work on them and it is therefore a Torah prohibition to drive a car on Yom Tov, nevertheless, certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking and frying, are permitt......

Read Halacha


How One Should Conduct Himself in the Morning

The Mishnah in Pirkei Avot (Chapter 5) states: “Yehuda ben Tema says: Be bold like a leopard, light as an eagle, swift as a deer, and mighty as a lion to perform the will of your father in Heaven.” Let us now explain this Mishnah. The Tanna writes that one must be as “bold as a ......

Read Halacha

The Holiday of Shavuot- Coronavirus

The holiday of Shavuot will be celebrated, G-d willing, at the conclusion of the period of the counting of the Omer this coming Friday (beginning from Thursday night), the 6th of Sivan (and outside of Israel on Shabbat, the 7th of Sivan as well). Let us, therefore, begin to discuss some of the perti......

Read Halacha

Reciting Kaddish

Question: What is the significance of reciting Kaddish for a deceased individual? Answer: When an individual departs from this world, his surviving children must make a concerted effort to pray with a Minyan three times a day in order to be able to recite Kaddish for their father or mother. Simil......

Read Halacha

Deceit and Trickery

One may not deceive or trick others when it comes to monetary transactions. Monetary Deceit If one knows that one’s merchandise is flawed or faulty, one must reveal this to the buyer. For instance, if one wishes to sell his home and he knows that the ceiling is full of mold because of a bu......

Read Halacha