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Shabbat Shalom to the Sha’are Shalom family,


A few days ago, we observed Lag Ba’Omer, the 33rd day in the counting of the Omer. Lag Ba’Omer is a day of happiness and celebrations. What is special about this particular day of the 49 days of counting the Omer between Passover and Shavuot?


Our ancestors explain this day’s significance in several different ways. The Omer time is a time of semi-mourning and solemn reflection. In the Talmud, we read about a plague that breaks out among the thousands of Rabbi Akiva’s students due to the way they disrespect each other. By tradition, the plague ended on Lag Ba’Omer, and so it became a day of celebration. Another tradition teaches the manna, the miraculous food from heaven God sends to our ancestors in the wilderness, starts falling on this day. Also, our ancestors teach Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai, thought to be responsible for the Zohar (the book of Jewish mysticism), died on Lag Ba’Omer. As a result, it became a day to celebrate his achievements and remember him. Thousands gather every year at Mt. Meron, Bar Yohai’s burial place (in the Upper Galilee in Israel) for the Bar Yohai Hilula celebrations. 


This Shabbat we will have our own celebration at Sha’are Shalom with the Augenstein family on the occasion of Henry’s Bar Mitzvah. Please join us!


And we’ll also close out our reading from the Book of Leviticus this Shabbat. At the end of every Book of Torah we say Chazak, chazak, ve’nitchazek!  Strength, strength, and let us be strengthened! When we gather as a community to pray, to study Torah, and to celebrate with each other, we are strengthened.


One final note: Many thanks to Mayor Burk and the Leesburg Town Council for the proclamation they issued this past week in honor of Virginia’s first annual Jewish American Heritage Month.


With blessings,

Rabbi Tow

How can we recognize the holiness of various moments in our lives? Click here for videos from Rabbi Tow and be on the lookout for more snippets on how blessings can help enrich these moments.

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