Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Oh, and don't forget to like our facebook page too!
Contact Us

Mourning Observances of the Sefirat HaOmer Period

Mourning Observances of the Sefirat HaOmer Period

 Email

Why Do We Mourn During the Weeks of the Omer Count?

In remembrance of the tragic death of the 24,000 disciples of Rabbi Akiva who died in a plague in the weeks between Passover and Shavuot, several mourning practices are observed during this period.

When Are the Mourning Practices Observed?

The mourning practices of the Omer period are observed beginning on the day after Passover, up until (but not including) the day before Shavuot. There is one day, however, within this period on which mourning is suspended—Lag BaOmer, the 33rd day of the Omer count. This is the custom according to the Ari (master Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria), and the one followed by the Chabad-Lubavitch community.

In this matter there are also differing customs among Jewish communities, which follow the traditions established by their ancestors. They are as follows:

  1. From the first day of the Omer count until the 33rd day of the Omer.
     
  2. From the first day of the Omer until the morning of the 34th day of the Omer (this is the prevailing Sephardic practice).
     
  3. From the 30th of Nissan (the first day of Rosh Chodesh Iyar) until the morning of the 3rd of Sivan.
     
  4. From the second day of Iyar until the day before Shavuot. 

In all these customs—except (b)—the mourning is lifted on the 33rd of the Omer.

(Consult our calendar for the corresponding secular dates for this year.)

What Are the Mourning Practices?

The following activities are curtailed during the mourning period:

  1. Marriages and wedding celebrations. It is permitted, however, to become engaged to marry during this time (provided that there is no music or dancing at the engagement celebration).
     
  2. Cutting of one’s hair. (Haircutting is sometimes permitted under extenuating circumstances related to lifecycle celebrations or professional reasons that make it necessary to do so. In any of these cases, one should ask an authority versed in the custom of your community. You can also avail yourself of the Ask the Rabbi service on Chabad.org.)
     
  3. Listening to instrumental music (unless this is one’s livelihood).
     
  4. Purchasing and wearing new garments that bring joy due to their quality (e.g., a new dress suit or dress shoes). If one requires such garments for business purposes, or because one is meeting a new person with an eye to finding a marriage partner and needs to make a good impression, it is permissible. (This is independent of the question as to whether one should measure people by what they wear . . . )
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
 Email
Join the discussion
1000 characters remaining
Email me when new comments are posted.
Sort By:
Discussion (80)
May 31, 2016
One may drive a new car during the Omer as we do not recite a Shehecheyanu blessing on a new car.
Simcha Bart for Chabad.org
Los Angeles
May 31, 2016
is knitting sewing crocheting embroidering etc allowed during sefirah
Anonymous
May 29, 2016
Car, Omer
Is it okay to drive a new car and say the Shecheyanu blessing for this car during the Omer period?
Anonymous
May 22, 2016
All of these festive activities may be done then, as the mourning customs are suspended on the 33rd day of the Omer.
Simcha Bart for Chabad.org
Los Angeles
May 19, 2016
Mourning Observances of the Sefirat HaOmer Period
Is it O.K. to cut hair, buy new clothes, etc on the 33rd day (Lag BaOmer)
Daniel Scharfman
May 15, 2016
Re: Omer Mourning Observances
Yes, that is not a problem.
Eliezer Zalmanov
for Chabad.org
May 12, 2016
Omer Mourning Observances
is it permissible to build say an extra room on your house during the counting of the Omer period
Malka Benya
Jerusalem Israel
May 10, 2016
To Betty-Ann
Because the blessing of Shehecheyanu is not recited when purchasing new appliances, there is no problem to buy them during the Omer.
Eliezer Zalmanov
for Chabad.org
May 9, 2016
Can I buy a major appliance like a clothes dryer during the Omer?
Betty-Ann weiner
Sunnyside
May 4, 2016
To Trudy
Yes we may wash clothes during the Omer. It is only during the Nine Days of Mourning for the Holy Temple, when we don't.
Chabad.org Staff
chabadone.org
This page in other languages