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until lag b'omer we mourn the 24k students of Rabbi Akiva who were wiped out in a plague (Yevamot 62b). Why do we mourn this and not many other tragic events in our history (ex.pinchas affair, korach, quail, the various tragic wars in tanach)? also why is this mourned longer than any other event?

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    "why is this mourned longer than any other event?" Because it happened to take place over the longest period of time? (It's not actually clear that this is the longest event. There are 26 days each year of mourning for the Temple, while Sefira restrictions only last 25 days in some customs. Also arguably the mourning period of the "second half" of the Omer for the Crusades is longer than the first half. Also a parent's death is mourned for a full year.) – Double AA May 12 '17 at 13:33
  • @DoubleAA continuously its the longest – ray May 14 '17 at 5:01
  • @ray A parent's death is still longer. – DonielF May 16 '17 at 14:13
  • @DoubleAA What are the 26 days? 21 for Bein HaMetzarim plus Tzom Gedalia and Asara BeTeves only makes 23. Maybe 24 if you could 10 Av. – DonielF May 16 '17 at 14:13
  • @DonielF It's not 21. Tisha Bav is day 22. It's "three weeks" with עד ועד בכלל – Double AA May 16 '17 at 14:15
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The Gemarah which you quoted above (Yevamos 62b) says after Rabbi Akiva's 24,000 disciples died, the world was desolate until Rabbi Akiva came & taught five new students. Rashi there says the reason for this was because of the Torah which was forgotten by their passing. The Torah is the lifeblood of the Jewish people. It is also the reason the world is continuously in existence.

The Torah, at the end of creation (Bereishis Perek 1 Pasuk 31) says יום השישי . Rashi, apparently bothered by the extra "Hay" in the word Shishi brings a Gemarah Shabbos 88a which says the entire six days of creation was waiting for the 6th day of Sivan - the day when thousands of years later the Jews would accept the Torah. Without the Torah the world cannot survive.

It is quoted from the Chofetz Chaim (Died 1933), although I don't have a source for you to look it up, that one of the reasons why G-d made different time zones in the world was so that there can always be people studying Torah throughout the day & night. Otherwise the world would cease to exist.

This is the reason why we specifically mourn the students of Rabbi Akiva passing away, as a reminder for us how important our learning is for ourselves & the world at large.

The above is my own theory, I did not see this quoted somewhere else. I welcome comments on it.

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    Jews didn't exist in all timezones too 400 years ago, and were only in exactly one timezone till 2500 years ago – Double AA May 14 '17 at 3:14
  • @DoubleAA While true, I don't think that really detracts from the answer, which works fine without that line. – mevaqesh May 14 '17 at 3:16
  • @DoubleAA Those days there were people who were studying Torah at night (such as Dovid Hamelech) – Shmuel Brin May 14 '17 at 4:01
  • any connection to the first 32 days of omer? – ray May 17 '17 at 5:02
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    I believe the gemara there says they died between the days of Pesach & Shavuot. What days they actually died is a dispute among the commentators. – Earl May 17 '17 at 16:24

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