For the first time that I can recall, Lag Baomer might get rained out.
Jews pray for rain immediately after Sukkot in the fall. On Sukkot we eat outside in booths covered with branches, so we need it to stay dry. On the first day of Passover, we stop asking for rain and request dew instead. Just to keep things moist. That was a month ago. Rain at any other time of year is considered a curse, because it’s bad for certain crops, like wheat that needs to be cut. But it’s not that unusual. It even rained once in mid-summer.
Today it drizzled, and rain is predicted for tomorrow and Sunday. I am not sure how the farmers feel about it, but the lakes, streams, and groundwater could sure use some help.
The people who will be most upset by the rain are those planning bonfires for the main observance of Lag Baomer. Tomorrow night is the 33rd night of the Omer, the end of the semi-mourning period we’ve observed since Pesach. Families and groups of teens build bonfires on every available spot of land. You close your windows and shutters to keep out the smoke, bring in your laundry, and wrap cooked potatoes in foil to toast in the ground near the fire.
Rain would also put a damper on the central celebrations in Meron, where Chassidic boys who recently turned three get their first haircut. Last year 300,000 people visited Meron on Lag Baomer.
As for me, I won’t complain about the rain. Just drive carefully, especially if you’re headed up north.