As far as Jewish rituals go, counting the Omer is a particularly confusing one. For seven full weeks, observant Jews count a measure from one to 49, recalling an ancient Temple practice. But what does it mean? And why would we care? And just what is an omer, anyway?
In the comic “What the Heck is Lag Ba’Omer,” we find out. The main question is answered quite simply: a boy exclaims, “OMG! It’s a talking bundle of grain!” That bundle of grain–after shooting back, “I prefer the term sheaf“–whisks us back in time to the Temple. We discover a farmer carting his sheaves of grain to be offered as a sacrifice. He measures the time between harvests, counting one measure of grain each day.
The cartoon fast-forwards through history, showing the plague of Rabbi Akiba‘s students–24,000 of them were killed during the Omer period between Passover and Shavuot because they spoke ill of each other. It also explores an interesting and bizarre story about another rabbi, Shimon bar Yohai, who lived in a cave with his son for 13 years.
Whether you’re a rabbi with a thing for caverns or you’re just curious about a time when people sacrificed wheat stalks, there’s something to be gained from this comic. Check it out now.