It's that special time of year again when it is the time of counting the omer. While initially it wasn't a time of any sort of mourning (see Rabbi Jeff's recent posting about the Rav's and Rabbi Sacks' understandings of the meaning behind it), due to 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva's students dying during thirty-three days of this fifty-day period in the beginning of the second century, we nowadays (since the time of the geonim) are accustomed not to hold weddings during this time (SA OH 493.1) and also (since medieval times) not to get haircuts (SA OH 493.2). Also, Rabbi Avraham Gombiner in the seventeenth century also mentioned that dancing is not to be done (OH 493.1). (Some people are also accustomed to not listen to music).
It's interesting to see how people feel regarding growing beards during the "sefirah", as some are excited about it (albeit she is a girl and doesn't have to deal with it's itchiness) and also to recognize its sociological aspect.
As for me, it has been kind of itchy, although I don't tremendously mind it, as it frees me up from worrying about whether I need to shave it or not and what people [who know what's going on with the whole not-shaving thing] think about it that maybe I should shave. The only worry I have is what many people who are not in-the-know about it. While as a student, it matters little, I wonder how I will accord myself as a rav, with having to appear nicely to people who may not think well of the unkemptness. For now, the beard is here (until Tuesday 16 May, that is).
(interested in the "Beards they grow on you!" shirt? click here (no, I'm not being paid by that website, I just thought it was appropriate (plus, you can also wear it during the three week))
Tags: Sefirat haomer, sefiras haomer, counting of the omer, omer, beard, beards, sefirah