As we are approaching the awesome day of Lag Bi-Omer, in which myriads of Jews from all around the world will sing and dance ecstatically, [[especially when feeling connected to the mystical supernal pulsation the specially of prepared bonfires]], there is to ask: What is the possible underlying unifying power of this 33rd day of the counting of the Omer which draws together such an all encompassing diversity of Jews from all different “walks of life”?
Besides some of the better known explanations, such as that on this day the great Tanna – Rebbi Shimon bar Yoci revealed the core esoteric teaching of the Torah know as the holy Zohar, that this 33rd day of the Omer is known as the attribute (seferiot) of hod within hod – which is best exemplified through Aahron HaCohen who loved and pursued making peace, and that the custom of having bows and arrows alludes to the rainbow which is a reminder of the Eternal covenant made after the Mabul, we will attempt to add an additional layer of the uniqueness of this special day by trying to “pull back any bow strings of indifference” and instead focus our “trajectory” on harmonizing and unifying our relationships with others.
Another possible deep symbolism of the bow and arrow could be understood by the following: Picture a loving father with his four year old son, whose has never seen or learned about how bows and arrow work. The father tells the son to look towards the east and in the distance there is a bulls eye target which he will hopefully hit with the arrow in his hand. Then the father places the arrow against the string on the bow and pulls it back very tightly. Before letting go of the arrow and string his puzzled son ask him: But father you said the arrow was going to go east toward the target, and it is instead west further away from the target. The father then explains that in order to reach the distant target it is first necessary to give the arrow the flying power which comes through tightening the string first and only then letting go.
This cute story is one of the profound facts of life that before we can reach our goals – ie the bulls eye target – we often are – what looks to us – sent in the wrong direction. For example some people who want first have to become poor first even though this is not what they want. However the trials of poverty prepare such a person to be more generous when they finally attain wealth. And so it is in every area of life, often our loving Father in heaven, who knows what is truly best for us, if we are worthy, only gives us what we want after we become prepared to use these blessings in the right way.
Perhaps an additional allusion to the bonfires on this awesome day is to remind us that just as the powerful downward pull of gravity cannot diminish a rising flame, how much more so does the downward pull of “spiritual atrophy” remains powerless against us, as long as long as we stay ignited with the “transcendent fuel” of our holy Torah.
Last but not least, let us ask ourselves: Why Lag Bi Omer, the 33 day is seen as such a pivotal position in the counting of the Seferia? One possible reason is because each day of these 49 days can be seen as an opportunity to enhance and refine our medios thereby engendering a “good” heart (in Hebrew – Lev Tov is also exactly the numerical value of 49 (32 = Lev and 17 = tov).
May we all merit through this awesome transitional period of time spanning Pesach until Shavous to focus on seeing and appreciating the good virtues (necuda tova) that can be found within every person, thereby hopefully bringing closer the final geula soon in our days.