It seems like this time would be a time of singing and dancing as we count to shavuot. Why does the mourning of Rabbi Akiva's students trump the celebration of the coming shavuot holiday?

  • why is counting to the omer worth celebrating, the chinuch says it is similar to a slave yearning for some shade to escape the burning sun. such a slave doesn't celebrate?
    – Hershy S.
    Apr 11, 2018 at 3:40
  • The creation of the second day was not complete until the third day when Hashem said it was good twice. It is more important to reserve the main celebration for the completion than for the steps leading up to it. Heshy... eilu v' eilu :-) Apr 11, 2018 at 4:03
  • 2
    Why should the 'celebration of the coming shavuot holiday' trump the 'mourning of Rabbi Akiva's stuents'? Apr 11, 2018 at 13:30
  • 1
    @Salmononius2 Because we don't mourn anywhere near as long for the destruction of the temple that also came with it the almost total annihilation of the Jewish people.
    – Aaron
    Apr 12, 2018 at 0:39

1 Answer 1


Rabbi Akiva himself already informed us that The Great Rule is: Love your fellow Jew like yourself.

This follows Hillel's statement (some 10 generations earlier) that the entire Torah is based on don't do unto others what you don't appreciate being done to yourself and the rest are details.

Since we know that the 2nd Temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred between us - and it hasn't been rebuilt, we can infer that we still suffer from this deficiency.

That means that we're lacking the foundation of our faith: Loving each other unconditionally.

So how can we get ready for Shavuoth? We're missing the entire point of the Torah!

So we shift the focus from celebrating the upcoming festival to mourning those great students of a greater teacher as a constant reminder that we need to work on the foundation - love - before we start celebrating the actual giving of the Torah.

Over the ages we've noticed that this period seem to have a higher incident of antisemitism and the Rabbis - around the time of the Crusaders, IIRC, decided it was time to shift the focus.

  • It's a good answer, but it sounds like your own D'var Torah (not to discount it, personally) rather than a sourced reason for why we mourn. Also, since it seems that the focus is on the Temple, it sounds like this would apply as a better answer for the 3 week period rather than Omer.
    – DanF
    Apr 11, 2018 at 14:08
  • @DanF - yes, the first 3 statements are easily sourced, the rest is harder to find classical sources for. My last sentence addresses your 2nd observation (which is simply rewording the question). Apr 11, 2018 at 14:37

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .