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Study and Theory/
Lag Ba'omer

Special Customs

  • Aden customs: - On Lag Ba’Omer they customarily lit candles in synagogue alike in a good home and the public came to the synagogue and studied the Book of Proverbs in entirety and thereafter songs and liturgy by Bar Yochai and then the Zohar. After morning prayers they read the Zohar, and sung praises to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai from various scriptures.

  • In the Torah study rooms of Yemen – The Ikshim sect in Yemen, supporters of the Book of Zohar rise early on Lag Ba’Omer, they go and have their hair cut and thereafter to the synagogues to study the Zohar. They light many candles in honour of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and the rest of the holy and the righteous sages and they join in a circle and feast, they hold marriages and family celebrations. Whereas the Dardaim sect who reject the Zohar, do not have any celebrations on Lag Ba’Omer, they go to work as usual, there are no festival meals and also no marriages are held on that day. The children study all day in Torah school and do not have a holiday from studies.

  • Egyptian customs – There are those who customarily shave on the day after Lag Ba’Omer, alike the Sephardim and there are those who customarily have their hair cut on Lag Ba’Omer as is the custom of the Ashkenazi's (from the book Nahalat Shiva, Chapter 10).

  • Burying “archives” in Rhodes – Lag Ba;Omer in Rhodes was a festival alike the final day of Passover. On this day they customarily buried the “archives” - they collected all the old books, torn pages from religious books and prayers from private homes and from the archives from the synagogues and arranged a funeral for them. The congregation sang songs of sorrow, psalms and burial payers. Together with the old books they also buried the old congregational books, laws and accounts from congregational life, notebooks that had been completed and in this way important historical material disappeared from the lives of the Jewish community. (From the book History of the Jews in Rhodes Chapter13/Prof. A. Galleti).

  • The Shimon Bar Yochai corner in Tunis – In Tunis everyone travels to the ancient synagogue “El Djerba which is located on the Djerba Island close to Tunis. There they stand and pray all day and in the evening have a great feast for the poor. Those who are unable to travel to Djerba gather in the synagogues, each of them prepares for himself and his family a special Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai corner – and thanks to this the righteous sage will protect him all year round. In this corner a special menorah is lit “the Menorah of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai”. At home a huge candelabrum is lit with tens of candles decorated with colourful flowers. In the afternoon each person brings his menorah to the synagogue to study by its light in remembrance of the righteous sage. At the end of the study, a large feast is held mainly for the young people. (Yizhak Alfassi “Sabbath Candles”).

  • A night of Torah study in Morocco - Lag Ba’Omer was considered to be a festival day and in the previous evening quorums of ten men gathered – quorums to study all night long and they would eat and drink and be merry, In Tetouan in Morocco they called Lab Baq’Omer “a night of celebration”. They read the Zohar up to midnight and later went for a meal held by the Chief Rabbi. The rabbi read a burial or memorial prayer for the members of the community who had passed away in that year.

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