Tuesday, April 27, 2010

This Shabbat Will Be The Hardest For Many

No, it has nothing to do with the weather...

Some of you may be aware that his year's Israeli Memorial and Independence Days celebrations were put off, postponed.  That was to prevent Chillul Shabbat, Shabbat Desecration.  Having a major event on a Saturday night, even after Shabbat, causes Shabbat Desecration except by the most fervently observant.  The Memorial and Independence Days were officially set by the Israeli Government, so the government takes responsibility for "tweaking" to make sure that they fall on better days.

That's not as sacrilegious as some of you may think.  At a Shavuot shiur (Torah Class) a few years ago, our local rabbi mentioned (almost in passing) that in the days when the new moon (month) was set according to the observations of special observers, they knew that certain months could never begin certain days of the week.  For instance, there's no way we can observe Yom Kippur on a Friday, so the New Moon for the month of Tishrei must not be seen for the month to begin on a Wednesday.

Saturday night and Sunday are Lag B'Omer, the festive thirty-third day of the Omer, the count from the second night of Passover until just before Shavuot.  It's not a holiday with all sorts of rules to observe, but the prevailing custom here in Israel is to spend the evening, OK the kids stay until dawn, around a campfire.

These campfires aren't high-tech grills.  They're much more primitive and require lots of preparation.  Rural communities and also suburban and even  urban areas with empty lots are full of piles of wood, which kids have been gathering and saving for weeks.  Usually, the hours before Lag B'Omer begins are spent desperately adding more and more wood so that the campfires will keep burning all night long.

On Shabbat it's forbidden by Jewish Law to touch that wood or make any preparation for the post-Shabbat festivities. 

Today's culture and modern child-raising theories do not prepare children and teens for the level of self-control they will need this Shabbat.

Thank G-d my kids are all grown up and I don't have to deal with anxious and impatient children.


Minnesota Mamaleh said...

batya, excellent post that explained *a lot.* thank you! you're right, waiting is hard for most and harder still, to explain! do you find that most people are accepting or questioning of "calendar changes" such as these?

Lady-Light said...

You know, you're right--never thought of that, because here in galut, we don't do anything the night of Lag ba-Omer, we do it on Lag ba-Omer: our shul (and others as well) is having a get-together-picnic-and-BBQ (you guys call it a mangel or al ha-aish) on the day of Lag ba-Omer, in our local park.

Batya said...

minne ma, I don't think people like changes of any sort. And LL expalins why the Sunday Lag B'Omer is good for other locations.

LL, thanks especially since you reminded me that my very first awareness/celebration of Lag B'Omer must have been on a Sunday, since we had an NCSY event to Bear Mt State Park. There were no weekday activities, since we were in school.

In Israel, Lag B'Omer is a day off for the kids.

Anonymous said...

"Having a major event on a Saturday night, even after Shabbat, causes Shabbat Desecration except by the most fervently observant."

Say what? You mean "plain ol'" observant folks can't hack it?

Perhaps you meant that this is a problem with people who are "casually observant"? Otherwise, I don't know what you're referring to.

Batya said...

kiddies and "good intentions" by those who think they're doing something good...

Hadassa said...

This is my favorite example of the Sages declaring a leap year: when the lambs were not going to be large enough or plentiful enough for the Passover sacrifice, a second month of Adar was added to allow for more lambs to be born and to grow. There's also the examination of wheat crops in order to define when spring starts because Passover is always a spring holiday. Our Sages were, and are, so attuned to the methods of applying the spiritual laws to the physical world. I don't mean to include the Israeli government under the category of "Sages". I'm sure that rabbis had to do quite a bit of tweaking to convince them to tweak.
OT And how about those Samaritans? My husband was in Har Bracha last night. He saw all of the tourists arriving for the Samaritan "Passover" sacrifice and the shuttle buses taking them to the Samaritan town. I wonder how many of them ever tried to go up to the Temple Mount.

Shy Guy, perhaps what was once "normally observant" is now "fervently observant"? Times change...

Batya said...

Hadassa, thanks for adding those points.

Anonymous said...

Our sages did not cancel Hanukah candle lighting on either Leil Shabbat or Motzei Shabbat.

This is all apples and oranges.

Sorry, Hadassa, I define observancy not by the fickleness of the moment or age but by how people adhere to Torah and halacha.

Normal observance and casual observance are still discernable.

Batya said...

Shy, G-d willing, everyone during Shabbat will keep their minds on shabbat and not think of all the logistics, chores and planning for Lag B'Omer or any non-shabbat activies or commitments. Granted, this is aways a challenge.