I’m not the wiser from year to year (no smart cracks please). Let’s look at the reasons for this pause in the Aveylus of S’fira and the Simcha attached to it.
It’s the day that R’ Akiva’s students stopped dying.
I don’t get it. As I recall this is a Gemora in Yevamos. If they stopped on Lag Ba’omer and then started again on Lamed Daled, I am unable to understand why anyone would be happy. If they stopped dying on Lag Ba’omer and didn’t die thereafter (this is one Girsa in that Gemora), I do understand suspending Aveylus, but I don’t understand the day of happiness.
It is the Yohr Tzeit of the Rashbi
I don’t understand. If it was his Yohr Tzeit and that was such an auspicious event, then why oh why isn’t this mentioned by Chazal. You won’t find it in the Gemora or Medrash. Why not? I don’t think you even find it mentioned in the writings of the Geonim. As I recall, the first Rishon who mentioned it was the Meiri. The others didn’t mention it, including the Rambam. Did the Rambam have a Mesora for Rashbi’s Yohr Tzeit? Sure, we know that much later R’ Chaim Vital related that the Ari went to the Kever and suggested that his Talmid not say Nachem on this day, the “simcha of the Rashbi”.
The day that five students of R’ Akiva got Smicha (including Rashbi) and continued his legacy.
I think this is quoted in the Tshuvos of the Chasam Sofer. Again, we know that R’ Akiva re-established Torah again, this time in the South of Israel and that is surely good, but to suspend Aveylus and then have these big shindigs in the middle of S’fira when in fact his 24,000 students from the North and centrally were dying?
About 35 years ago, when I had to “decide” how to act in S’fira given that my father’s Mesora was not transmitted, I chose the S’fardi practice of having 33 days of mourning, and then ceasing mourning on the 34th day. The assumption was that this was the end of the plague, and therefore the mourning period terminated. I’m not even getting into the opinions of those (like the Chida) who say that it wasn’t Rashbi’s Yom Simcha (Hillula).
I don’t get it. Someone enlighten me please?
Whatever the case, I am lucky to always play at a wedding on Lag Ba’omer, and last night was no different. It was a beautiful wedding with lots of genuine Simcha and that’s good enough for me to have a special night 🙂