Lag Ba’Omer is coming, and with it the ancient tradition of building bonfires on this strange mini-holiday. There is some debate as to why bonfires and torches are connected to Lag Ba’Omer, but the most credible story has its roots in the belief that the day might mark the death of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai, who is credited as the author of the mystical Zohar. His students commemorate the day by converging on his grave with glowing torches. In Israel, bonfires light up the night on Lag Ba’Omer (causing something of an ecological disaster, because the fires can sometimes rage out of control, causing death and/or damage to the environment) and even those who don’t light big fires do like to light their barbecues and enjoy grilled food on this holiday.
Wherever you are this year for Lag Ba’Omer, I highly recommend using this opportunity to kick off the grilling season. Here at MyJewishLearning we have lots of great recipes for your grill, including two kinds of lamb kebabs, grilled peppers and haloumi cheese for the vegetarians, and grilled pineapple. None of those sound like your bag? How about grilled asparagus from your local farmer’s market? Plain old burgers and hotdogs are always good. I love the look of these grilled bleu cheese stuffed tomatoes and these grilled summer squash and zucchini caprese skewers. And for dessert, you can’t go wrong with ‘smores! So get your charcoal and lighter fluid ready…Lag Ba’Omer begins at sundown on Wednesday.