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.

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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.

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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.

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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.