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The Omer

The halakhoth here, cover the period of the ‘Omer that commences after Pesah ends. For the halakhoth of the ‘Omer during Pesah, see our Hol Hammo’ed page.

Some have the custom to fast on Monday, Thursday and Monday after Pesah, (as we do after Sukkoth), as we fear that the celebration of drinking and eating during the holiday may have caused us to sin in some way. The custom is to wait till the month of Nissan is over (Tashri, in the case of Sukkoth) to keep these fasts.

The laws of mourning that are kept because of the students of Ribbi ‘Aqiba who died, are kept from when Pesah finishes until and including the 33rd day of the ‘Omer (Lagh La’Omer). Rosh Hodesh Iyyar is included in these days of mourning for Sephardim. All restrictions cease from the 34th day and from then on, any item that was prohibited because of the ‘Omer becomes permitted from that day on. This is the custom of the Sephardim who follow Maran Yosef Karo. Ashkenazim have several varying customs and should consult their Rabbi.

The custom, for Sephardim, is not to perform weddings from Pesah till the 33rd day of the ‘Omer (Lagh La’Omer), and even though all other items that were forbidden during the ‘Omer, only become permitted on the 34th day, Hakham Yoseph Hayyim, ‘a”h, states that weddings are permitted from the 33rd day. It should be noted that Sephardim may perform marriages on any day from Lagh La’Omer on and not just on Lagh La’Omer itself.

Since Ashkenazim have many varied customs during this time, Sephardim who are invited to an Ashkenzi wedding between Pesah and Rosh Hodesh Iyyar (when Sephardim are not permitted to hold weddings or hear music), should preferably not attend. But if they feel obligated to attend they should be present for the Huppah only, and not remain for the ceremony and music and dancing.

Cutting one’s hair (including shaving) is not done from Pesah until and including the 33rd day of the ‘Omer because of the students of Ribbi Aqiba who died during this period. Ashkenazim cut their hair on the 33rd day itself, but Sephardim must wait till the morning of the 34th. Cutting one’s nails, however, is not forbidden. When the 34th day is Shabbath, Sephardim may also cut their hair on the 33rd day itself, in honor of the Sabbath.

When Rosh Hodesh Iyyar falls on ‘Ereb Shabbath, most Ashkenzim permit shaving & hair cutting on that day. Sephardim, however, should not cut their hair or shave, even in this case, till the 34th day of the ‘Omer.

Click Here for more of the Laws and Customs of the Omer.

(Taken from the writings of Hakham Ya'aqob Menashe.)