Saturday, April 28, 2012

Connect the Carob Eating Custom of Tu B'Shvat with Lag B'Omer

Carob fruit for Tu B'Shvat. But Carob fruit for Lag B'Omer? A fitting fruit if you ask me since on Lag B'Omer so many  Jews hailing from the Middle East honor the memory of Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai -- one of Rabbi Akiva's outstanding students and author of the Zohar. The carob connection is simple. Legend has it that he and his son hid from the Romans in a cave, where the two learned Torah for 13 years. The miraculous appearance of a carob tree and a spring of water next to the cave provided the nourishment they needed to survive.

Here's the next Tu B'Shvat/Lag B'Omer connection that I'm spinning in my head. Most of us are familiar with the Tu B'Shvat Seder -- a veritable fruit feast. Oddly enough, one of the Lag B'Omer customs practiced by Jews from Tunisia, Libya and Morocco is to hold a feast honoring Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai because Lag B'Omer was a memorable date in his life -- on this same date (not year) he became a certified teacher, got married and passed away.

And you thought this minor holiday is only marked by bonfires!

Carob tree photo credit

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