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Why the Bow and Arrow on Lag BaOmer?

Why the Bow and Arrow on Lag BaOmer?



The custom of playing with bows and arrows on Lag BaOmer, the day that marks the passing of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, symbolizes our sages proclamation that not a single rainbow appeared in the sky during the lifetime of this great sage.1

The rainbow first appeared after the flood, and represents G‑d's promise to never again destroy the world by flood. The rainbow appears when the world is deserving of punishment. The merit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai protected his entire generation and no rainbow appeared during his lifetime.

The Hebrew word for rainbow, keshet, also translates as bow.2

Please see The Kabbalah of the Bow and Arrow from our Lag BaOmer section.

Rochel Chein
for the Judaism Website


Bereishit Rabbah 35:2.


Rabbi Zvi Elimelech Shapiro of Dynov (1783-1841), Bnei Yisaschar, Chodesh Iyar, Ch. 4.

Mrs. Rochel Chein is a member of the Ask the Rabbi team.
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Moishele Fort Dix April 28, 2013

To Ariel Among other sources, Rav Chaim Vital writes (Pri Etz Chaim, Shaar Sefirat HaOmer perek 7) that Rashbi passed away on Lag BaOmer. Reply

Anonymous April 27, 2013

Bows and arrows are to commemorate Rabbi Akiva's students victory over the Romans fighting in Bar Kochva's army. Reply

ruth housman marshfield, ma April 24, 2013

rainbow How interesting we have Bow as part of the word in English and the meaning of the Hebrew being 'bow'. Bow & Arrow has personal meaning as I was hit by a car in Cambridge years ago at the intersect of Bow & Arrow and begged G-d to keep me safe. I was in excruciating pain in my jaw and the moment I spoke or thought these words, instantaneously the pain left. I have had other near death experiences and strangely feel the Hand of in all this. Love is associated with bow and arrow. It feels to me that rain, creating the rainbow and reign are not just aurally significant. It could be all souls somewhere over the rainbow will reunite and as exist contains exit, it's not over when, it's over. It all comes down to one. It all comes down to ONE. Reply

YYRaskin MEL, Australia via June 16, 2011

To Shevy the reason why no rainbow is a good sign is because it shows that G-d didn't get angry in the first place, so no need to show us that He's holding back His anger! Reply

Ariel Weber Jerusalem, Israel May 22, 2011

sources please Based on what do you claim that lagh ba`omer is the day that marks the passing of Rashbi?

I saw a source from Ben Ish Hai saying that this is not the case. Reply

shevy New Haven, CT May 22, 2011

Confusingish if there was no rainbow, why is that good? if the rainbow represents G-d withholding punishment from a world that is deserving, wouldn't the absence of a rainbow be somewhat worrisome in a regular/not-so-good nation? Reply