Lag B’Omer the festival of fire reconnects us to ourselves
Have you ever sat in front of a fire, mesmerized by the flames? You can see it, smell it, and feel it, but fire also has a special power of life in it. Connecting us between worlds and dimensions, fire is a prominent symbol that plays a central role in Jewish life and tradition. Fire connects the spiritual with the physical world in ancient beliefs. Our tradition offers countless references to its spirituality. Hanukkah, havdalah, Shabbat, and holiday candles just to name a few. Lag B’Omer is no different with a bonfire playing a central role in the celebration.
In our electrified modern world, celebrations in front of a campfire may seem detached and unrelated especially since our need for actual fire is almost nonexistent. Once the fire was a central part of humanity bringing us together for light, warmth, food and so much more. Lag B’Omer gives us a chance to reconnect to fire both physically and spiritually.
Lag B’Omer occurs during a historic time when many powerful events involving fire took place. This day offers us an opportunity to rediscover fire and find a deeper connection to our humanity. With people so disconnected from nature, this one night a year allows us a chance to sit in front of the fire and connect to the depths of the fire and ourselves. Allow yourself to get lost in the beauty while sitting near the fire this Lag B’Omer. Let yourself connect to the depths of the world and your inner flame.
Rabbi Shimon’s fire
On lag B’Omer, we celebrate the fire of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who according to tradition brought into the world the wisdom of Kabbalah. Fire has symbolized Kabbalistic wisdom throughout the ages. Therefore, it is customary on lag B’Omer to sit and read texts from the Jewish Mystical tradition.
Progressive Jewish groups today call for avoiding lighting fires because of the environmental impact. Fire releases carbon dioxide—a key greenhouse gas—into the atmosphere. Traditional groups want to enjoy fires without regard for the environment. What do you think? If you are planning to build a fire, keep it small, and do it safely and responsibly.
photo credit: Benjamin DeYoung