Written by Rifki Orzech
We’re a couple of weeks away from the chag of the year, Pesach; we spent a week in close quarters with our nearest and dearest doing odd things—so the children will ask questions—and making memories. Now, we’re almost at the Omer’s midpoint and then shortly afterward, it’s Lag Ba’Omer, the final Omer break before Shavuot.
Lag Ba’Omer, nestled in the middle of modern memorial and celebratory days, traditionally stood for many different ideas. Today, it’s become popular as the day when many young boys, or girls, will get their first haircut to honor a third birthday. Whether you do it or not, or even on Lag Ba’Omer at all, cutting off flyaway baby hair for the first time is as much a milestone as learning your letters and numbers. This is because haircuts are obvious changes, unmistakable signs of growing up, after all, you don’t need to test your child on their numbers before giving them a haircut. You just need to establish that you, as parents, are ready for a child who doesn’t have a baby-like appearance anymore.
Break into a chorus of Sunrise Sunset? Or press the emergency brake pedal? Where did this little person come from? He was a baby two seconds ago, I hear you say. He…or she, can count to 20, count your blessings, count the
chocolate you don’t want to share and if they so wish, they can count the Omer too. They’re constantly grabbing hold of life and badgering you to do the same—sometimes through the bathroom door. Today the tot needs a hand up to the slide; tomorrow they’re hanging upside down from the very top.
But, the notion of time passing doesn’t have to be daunting, after all time flies when you’re having a blast! Many families take that to heart and make a point of creating their own family traditions that become their children’s treasure chest of heritage and memory. On Lag Ba’Omer, some like to prepare a special dinner, perhaps a barbecue. Their preparations will hit a different note if they’re celebrating a third birthday on this day. The day will then take a ceremonial flavor.
In Israel, some will take the day off and grab the opportunity to access the great outdoors or organize family time. Not just to engage in pastime but to pass the time together, well, seeing as it’s passing so quickly, you may as grab every opportunity you can. Right?
And all that, I promise, will tide you over from toddlerdom to tweenville then survival in the valley of the shadow of teenagers. Together time evolves and the quality time you started with parties and haircuts become hikes and Settlers of Cattan. You strengthen familial bonds and bolster communication between your generations. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from doing some odd things to make the kids ask questions. After all, it’s your divine right.
Whether your app-playing toddler counts correctly or skips digits, whether you go to Meron for the day or I owe you a mazal tov, whatever age your children are and whatever you choose to do on this day, I wish you a hearty Lag Sameach and that stands for the liveliest and greatest day…since the last one.
Rifki Orzech is an olah, a mother of three and a content writer with five years’ experience. She is passionate about women learning Torah and has completed the Susi Bradfield Educational Leadership Programme for Jewish women at the London School of Jewish Studies.