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Why the semi-mourning period between Passover and Shavuot?

by Rabbi Yossi Marcus

  

Library » Holidays » Counting the Omer | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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The primary reason is that during this time a terrible tragedy took place some 2,000 years ago: Almost all of Rabbi Akiba’s 24,000 students passed away in a massive epidemic.

Other tragedies also befell our people during this time. For example, during the Crusades in the year 1096 many Jewish communities were massacred during this time of the year. Six hundred years later in 1648 and 1649 we again were massacred in what is called the Khmelnitsky massacres. Jewish blood was spilled like water following Passover and the Blood Libels. All of these tragedies took place primarily during the period between Passover and Shavuot.

See also When exactly does the period of mourning of the Omer start, and when does is it end?

And, what exactly is prohibited during the omer mourning period?


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Passover
A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.
Shavuot
Early summer festival marking the day when the Jews received the Torah at Mount Sinai in the year 2448 (1312 BCE).