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The Month of Iyar
One In Focus - By <a href=''/k15995''>Michoel Ogince</a>
One In Focus - By Michoel Ogince

Iyar is the second month on the Jewish calendar counting from Nissan.

Shortly after the Exodus, the thirsty Israelites reached a well of bitter water. Moses cast a tree into the water, and it miraculously became sweet. G‑d then promised that if Israel followed His ways, “the diseases I have placed on Egypt I will not place upon you, for I am G‑d your Healer (אני י‑י רפאך).” The acronym for this last phrase spells out the name of the month of Iyar (אייר), thus indicating that Iyar is a propitious time for healing.

Although Iyar does not contain many “special days,” every single day of the month is included in the Sefirat HaOmer counting—the mitzvah to count each of the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot. Sefirat HaOmer is a period of introspection and self-refinement, as we prepare ourselves to receive the Torah anew on Shavuot. Each day of Iyar represents another step in this spiritual journey toward Sinai.

The 14th day of Iyar is Pesach Sheni, “the second Passover.” The Torah describes how G‑d created this holiday at the request of those who, for reasons beyond their control, were unable to offer the paschal sacrifice in its proper time. One month later, they received a second chance. Pesach Sheni reminds us that it’s never too late. With sincere effort, yesterday’s missed opportunity can become today’s achievement.

The 33rd day of the Omer (18 Iyar), known as Lag BaOmer, marks the anniversary of the passing of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, author of the Zohar, the basic work of Kabbalah. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai instructed his disciples to mark the date as “the day of my joy,” the moment when his life’s work reached its culmination. In fulfillment of this request, Lag BaOmer is celebrated as a mini-holiday, with outings, bonfires and other festivities.

According to tradition, a plague afflicting many students of the great sage Rabbi Akiva ceased on Lag BaOmer. Thus, this date is a celebratory day, on which joyous activities that are forbidden during the rest of the Omer period are permitted. These activities include weddings, picnics and haircuts. Since the plague came about due to their lack of proper respect for one another, this day is also marked with an increase in Jewish unity.

Iyar Features
G-d Is Your Healer
Why do we mourn?
How does it mesh with real life?
In the spring of 1967, a great panic enveloped the land.
Bonfire Cupcakes
Bonfire Cupcakes
These cupcakes, which resemble bonfires, are fun to make with children of all ages.
Through the spiritual and emotional process of Iyar, we too can manifest this power to bring true, unlimited, revealed G-dly healing into this world.
The Month of Iyar
To understand who and what we are, we need to read creation's code
A Lag Ba'Omer Lesson
How can inflexible digits chart the person-to-G-d relationship?
Iyar Calendar
Special Days in Iyar
5 Iyar State of Israel Proclaimed
The British mandate to govern the Holy Land expired on Friday, May 14, 1948. A United Nations resolution passed six months earlier endorsed the...
14 Iyar Pesach Sheini ("Second Passover")
G-d established the 14th of Iyar as a "second Passover" (pesach sheini) for anyone who was unable to bring the Passover offering on its appointed...
16 Iyar The Manna
Manna, the "bread from heaven" which sustained the Children of Israel during their 40 years of wandering through the desert, began to fall on the...
18 Iyar Lag BaOmer (33rd Day of the Omer) - Hod sheb'Hod
In the weeks between Passover and Shavuot, a plague decimated 24,000 students of the great sage Rabbi Akiva--a result, says the Talmud, of the fact...
26 Iyar Six-Day War
In the spring of 1967, the Arab capitals paraded their arms and openly spoke of overrunning the Land of Israel and casting its inhabitants into the...
Jewish History In Iyar
1 Iyar
370 BCE Construction of Second Temple Begins
Fifty three years following the destruction of the First Holy Temple (see Jewish History for the 9th... Read More »
1788 Passing of R. Menachem Mendel of Horodok
Chassidic master Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Horodok (1730?-1788), also known as Rabbi Menachem Mendel... Read More »
2 Iyar
1834 Maharash Born
The fourth Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, Rabbi Shmuel Schneersohn (1834-1882), known by the acronym... Read More »
3 Iyar
1556 Ancona Boycott Initiated
Following the Portuguese Expulsion in 1496 (see Jewish History for the 22nd of Tevet) many Jews who... Read More »
1993 Passing of Rabbi Chaim Hodakov
Born in the Russian town of Beshenkowitz on January 12, 1902 (Shevat 4, 5662), Chaim Mordechai Aizik... Read More »
4 Iyar
1165 Maimonides Saved
The 4th of Iyar was observed by Maimonides (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, 1135-1204) as a personal day of... Read More »
5 Iyar
1948 State of Israel Proclaimed
The British mandate to govern the Holy Land expired on Friday, May 14, 1948. A United Nations... Read More »
6 Iyar
1881 Anti-Jewish Riots in Russia
Following the assassination a month earlier of Tzar Alexander II of Russia, and the subsequent... Read More »
1948 Arab Countries Declare War on Israel
One day after the State of Israel was proclaimed (see Jewish History for the 5th of Iyar), the... Read More »
7 Iyar
335 BCE Jerusalem Walls Dedicated
The rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem was celebrated with great jubilation nearly 88 years after... Read More »
1516 Venetian Ghetto
On the 7th of Iyar, 1516, the Venetian City Council decreed that all Jews be segregated to a specific... Read More »
1619 Passing of Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim of Luntschitz, “Kli Yakar”
Born in the year 1550 in Luntschitz, Poland, with just the name Ephraim, the name Sholomo was added... Read More »
8 Iyar
1096 First Crusade Massacres Begin
In the early 1070s, the Muslim Turks commenced an offensive against the Christian pilgrims in... Read More »
10 Iyar
891 BCE Passing of Eli
Eli the High Priest died upon learning that the Holy Ark containing the Tablets was captured by the... Read More »
1103 Passing of Rif
Rabbi Isaac Al-Fasi (1013-1103), known by the acronym "Rif," was one of the earliest codifiers of the... Read More »
11 Iyar
1510 Jewish Books Confiscated
1,500 Jewish books were confiscated in Frankfurt am Main, Germany at the instigation of an apostate... Read More »
1881 Riots in Wasilkow and Konotop
Anti Jewish riots (pogroms) continue to escalate in Russia and break out on the 11th of Iyar in... Read More »
1948 The Battle at Deganya
The Israeli Army defeated the advancing Syrian Army, following the shelling at the entrance of... Read More »
12 Iyar
1402 Roman Jews Granted Privileges
On the 12th of Iyar, 1402, the Jews of Rome were granted "privileges" by Pope Boniface IX. They were... Read More »
13 Iyar
1427 Jews Expelled from Berne
The Jews of Berne, Switzerland were expelled on this date in 1427. Berne had a long history of... Read More »
1952 Passing of Rabbi Yisrael Aryeh Leib
Rabbi Yisrael Aryeh Leib, brother of Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, was the... Read More »
14 Iyar
1312 BCE "Second Passover"
A year after the Exodus, G-d instructed the people of Israel to bring the Passover offering on the... Read More »
2nd Century CE Passing of Rabbi Meir
Rabbi Meir, a second century scholar and scribe, was among the foremost disciples of Rabbi Akiba.... Read More »
1605 Jews of Bisenz Massacred
The Jews of Bisenz, Austria were massacred on the 14th of Iyar, 5365... Read More »
1933 Germans Burn Jewish Books
Following the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany in the year 1933, the Nazis burned thousands of books... Read More »
1960 Eichmann Captured in Buenos Aires
Adolf Eichmann, a key party in implementing of Hitler's "final solution," was captured by agents of... Read More »
15 Iyar
1313 BCE Matzah Depleted
The supply of matzah (unleavened bread) which the Jewish people brought out of Egypt--enough for 60... Read More »
1727 Jews Expelled from Ukraine
A few months prior to her death, Empress Catherine I, the second wife of Peter the Great, expelled... Read More »
1883 Riots in Rostov-on-Don
Rostov-on-Don, Russia, was home to 14 Synagogues and many communal institutions. With the... Read More »
16 Iyar
1313 BCE The Manna
Manna, the "bread from heaven" which sustained the Children of Israel during their 40 years of... Read More »
70 Romans Razed Jerusalem Wall
In the year 70 CE (3830 from Creation), Titus and the Roman army laid siege upon Jerusalem, greatly... Read More »
1939 "Nuremberg Laws" Passed in Hungary
The Nazi Nuremberg Laws, depriving Jews the rights citizenship, were passed by the government of Nazi... Read More »
1945 Dachau Liberated
Dachau was the first Nazi concentration camp and the model for the other concentration camps. During... Read More »
1948 Witold Pilecki Executed
On this day in 1948 (5708) Witold Pilecki was executed by the Communist Polish government after a... Read More »
17 Iyar
66 Roman Garrison Defeated
Following the theft of silver from the Holy Temple in Jerusalem on the 17th of Iyar of the year 3826... Read More »
1793 Passing of "Noda B'Yehudah"
The 17th of Iyar marks the passing of Rabbi Yechezkel Landau (1713-1793), author of the... Read More »
18 Iyar
circa 120 CE Plague among R. Akiva's Disciples Ends
In the weeks between Passover and Shavuot, a plague decimated 24,000 students of the great sage Rabbi... Read More »
2nd century CE Passing of R. Shimon bar Yochai
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai ("Rashbi"), was a leading disciple of Rabbi Akiva and one of the most... Read More »
1573? Passing of Rama
Rabbi Moshe Isereles ("Rama") of Cracow (1525-1573?) authored the glosses ("hagga'ot") on R. Yosef... Read More »
1690 Ettingen Jews Acquitted
Following a blood libel and the decree, if found guilty, to destroy the synagogue of Ettingen... Read More »
1948 IDF Created
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was created on Lag BaOmer of 1948. The IDF comprises the Israeli... Read More »
1948 Hurva Synagogue Destroyed
The Hurva synagogue, located in the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, was captured and... Read More »
19 Iyar
1293 Passing of Maharam of Rothenberg
Renowned Talmudist Rabbi Meir ("Maharam") of Rothenburg (1215?-1293) died in his cell in... Read More »
1945 Goebbels Committed Suicide
Paul Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Propaganda Minister under Adolf Hitler, was known for his zealous... Read More »
20 Iyar
1312 BCE Journey From Mount Sinai
On the 20th of Iyar 2449 (1312 BCE)--nearly a year after the Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai--the... Read More »
1288 Troyes Jews Burned at Stake
On the 20th of Iyar in 1288, thirteen Jews in Troyes, France, were burned at the stake by the... Read More »
1637 Venice Jews Forbidden to Practice Law
The Jews of Venice, Italy, were forbidden to practice law or to act as advocates in the Courts of... Read More »
1939 Mt. Scopus Hospital
The Hadassah University Hospital and Medical Center was opened on Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem. The... Read More »
1942 Pregnant Women Sentenced to Death
In the ghetto of Kovno, the Nazis decreed the execution of all pregnant Jewish... Read More »
21 Iyar
1946 Frank Hanged in Prague
Karl Hermann Frank, the German Nazi official in Czechoslovakia during World War II, was hanged on... Read More »
1949 Kfar Chabad Established
The Chabad-Lubavitch village in Israel, Kfar Chabad, was founded by the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe... Read More »
22 Iyar
1313 BCE Shabbat Commanded
Following the descent of the manna (the miraculous "Bread from Heaven" that sustained the Israelites... Read More »
1731 Jewish Books Confiscated
Giovanni Antonio Costanzi, the Vatican librarian and author of a catalogue of the Vatican's Hebrew... Read More »
1944 Hungarian Jews Deported
Two months after the Nazi occupation of Hungary, where the Jewish population prior to WWII was... Read More »
23 Iyar
1313 BCE Water from a Rock at Rephidim
The Children of Israel arrived at Rephidim on the 23rd of Iyar, 1313 BCE -- 38 days after their... Read More »
24 Iyar
1945 Germany Surrenders to Allied Forces
In Rheims, France, the Chief-of-Staff of the German Armed Forces High Command signed the... Read More »
25 Iyar
1096 Cologne Jews Saved
During the First Crusade, the crusaders are locked out of Cologne, Germany and the local Jews are... Read More »
1355 Toledo Massacre
1,200 Jews were massacred by a Christian and Muslim mob attack on the Jewish section of Toledo... Read More »
26 Iyar
942 Passing of R. Saadia Gaon
Iyar 26 is the yahrtzeit (anniversary of the passing) of Rabbi Saadia Gaon (892?-942), author of... Read More »
1747 Passing of Ramchal
Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato (known by the acronym "Ramchal"), philosopher, kabbalist and ethicist, was... Read More »
1857 Passing of R. Eizik of Homel
Rabbi Yitzchak Eizik Epstein (1770-1857), who served as the rabbi of the town of Homel in White... Read More »
1967 Six-Day War
In the spring of 1967, the Arab capitals paraded their arms and openly spoke of overrunning the Land... Read More »
28 Iyar
877 BCE Passing of Samuel
The prophet Samuel (931-877 BCE) was one of the most important figures in Jewish history; our sages... Read More »
1962 Eichmann Executed
Adolf Eichmann was hanged at Ramleh Prison in Israel following his trial and conviction for his... Read More »
1967 Jerusalem Liberated
The Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were liberated during the 1967 Six-Day War (see “Today... Read More »
29 Iyar
1967 Hebron Liberated
One day after Israeli forces liberated Eastern Jerusalem in the course of the Six-Day War, another of... Read More »
Laws & Customs For Iyar
1 Iyar
Today is the second of the two Rosh Chodesh ("Head of the Month") days for the month of "Iyar" (when... Read More »
Tomorrow is the seventeenth day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
2 Iyar
Tomorrow is the eighteenth day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
3 Iyar
In preparation for the festival of Shavuot, we study one of the six chapters of the Talmud's Ethics... Read More »
Tomorrow is the nineteenth day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
4 Iyar
Tomorrow is the twentieth day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
5 Iyar
“The Sages of old instituted, yet in the times of the Holy Temple, that thirty days before the onset... Read More »
Tomorrow is the twenty-first day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
6 Iyar
Tomorrow is the twenty-second day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins... Read More »
7 Iyar
Tomorrow is the twenty-third day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
Once a month, as the moon waxes in the sky, we recite a special blessing called Kiddush Levanah... Read More »
8 Iyar
Tomorrow is the twenty-fourth day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
9 Iyar
Tomorrow is the twenty-fifth day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
10 Iyar
In preparation for the festival of Shavuot, we study one of the six chapters of the Talmud's Ethics... Read More »
Tomorrow is the twenty-sixth day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
11 Iyar
Tomorrow is the twenty-seventh day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins... Read More »
12 Iyar
Tomorrow is the twenty-eighth day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
13 Iyar
Tomorrow is the twenty-ninth day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
14 Iyar
It is customary to eat matzah today to mark the "Second Passover" (see "Today in Jewish... Read More »
Tomorrow is the thirtieth day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
15 Iyar
Tomorrow is the thirty-first day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
16 Iyar
Tomorrow is the thirty-second day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins... Read More »
17 Iyar
In preparation for the festival of Shavuot, we study one of the six chapters of the Talmud's Ethics... Read More »
Tomorrow is the thirty-third day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
18 Iyar
Lag BaOmer (the 33rd day of the Omer count) celebrates the end of the plague amongst Rabbi Akiva's... Read More »
Tomorrow is the thirty-fourth day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
19 Iyar
Tomorrow is the thirty-fifth day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
20 Iyar
Tomorrow is the thirty-sixth day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
21 Iyar
Tomorrow is the thirty-seventh day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins... Read More »
22 Iyar
Tomorrow is the thirty-eighth day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
23 Iyar
Tomorrow is the thirty-ninth day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
24 Iyar
This Shabbat is Shabbat Mevarchim ("the Shabbat that blesses" the new month): a special prayer is... Read More »
In preparation for the festival of Shavuot, we study one of the six chapters of the Talmud's Ethics... Read More »
Tomorrow is the fortieth day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
25 Iyar
Tomorrow is the forty-first day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
26 Iyar
Tomorrow is the forty-second day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
27 Iyar
Tomorrow is the forty-third day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
28 Iyar
Tomorrow is the forty-fourth day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
29 Iyar
Tomorrow is the forty-fifth day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at... Read More »
Jewish Women's Events
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Rosh Chodesh
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What Is Rosh Chodesh?
The Jewish calendar follows the lunar year. The renewal of the moon, marks the beginning of the month. Rosh Chodesh, which means ‘head of the month’ celebrates the start of a new month on the Jewish calendar.

Throughout history our light has waxed and waned. But even in utter darkness, it has never been extinguished.

More About Rosh Chodesh
A Monthly Holiday for Women
The special connection between women and Rosh Chodesh harks way back to the episode of the Golden Calf, when the women refused to surrender their jewelry for use in making the idol. As a reward, they were given Rosh Chodesh as a special Holiday for women.

Rosh Chodesh celebrates the monthly renewal of the moon, after it wanes to the point of disappearance. Thus Rosh Chodesh celebrates the concept of perpetuity despite life’s peaks and plunges. It is the woman who through her steadfast faith that ensures our nation’s survival; it is she who ensures that no matter how much we wane, we will always be renewed.

More on the Women Connection
~ In honor of the Gold family of Montreal ~