As Nature Directs

Overzealous Celebrations

Steve A. Wiggins

The news about the “stampede” in Israel last week is tragic. People like to gather in large crowds once in a while. Religious events are sometimes such occasions (although not so much the case among mainstream religions anymore). In this case the celebration, largely among the Ultra-Orthodox, was Lag BaOmer, a festival with unknown origins. It has to do with counting the omer, a measure, in a biblically based instruction regarding grain offerings. Since it’s based on the lunar Jewish calendar, it doesn’t fall on the same date of the solar year every time. To be honest, I’d not heard of this celebration before the tragedy that occurred last week. Having been confined for over a year, many religious groups are anxious to be back together in numbers. Nothing reinforces belief better than having the size to be taken seriously.

A few years back, if I recall correctly, it was…

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