Based upon the insights of R’ Gedalya Schorr, the Chassam Sofer and the Chazon Ish
While two events are very well known as having occurred on Lag BaOmer, there is one that is less well known. The well-known ones are the cessation of the deaths of the students of Rebbe Akiva, and the death of R’ Shimon bar Yochai. The less known event is the initial descending of the “mon” in the desert that began on Lag BaOmer. Until the 15th of Iyar the Bnei Yisroel subsisted on the bread and matzos they brought out from Mitzrayim and when the supply ran out, three days then passed until the mon began to fall.
Chazal say that the Torah was only given to the Ochlei Mon. What does this mean?
While mon provided physical nourishment, it was also a form of purification for the body to prepare the Jewish People for kabalas HaTorah. But why would it begin to fall specifically on Lag BaOmer?
The answer lies in the fact that the days between Pesach and Shavuos are days of hachana to develop ourselves emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually for the acceptance of the Torah. The seforim teach us that this period is appropriately divided into three segments, each dedicated to a unique aspect of that self-development and corresponds to the Mishna in Pirkei Avos that the world stands upon Torah, avodah and chessed. The first two segments of the sefira period are a focus on chessed and avodah while the last one as we approach Sinai, on Torah.
Fifty days divided by three equals 331/3 and so Lag BaOmer marks the start of the third pillar of a more intensive dedication to learning of and submission to the Torah. Therefore the mon began to descend on Lag b’Omer as the final leg of the journey to kabbalas haTorah begins – so that not only have our actions (chessed and avodah) become refined but our physical bodies too begin the process of their refinement by absorbing only mon.
The Chazon Ish says in sefer Emuna vBitachon that the root midda from which all good middos flow is the resolution to not allow one’s behavior to be neglected to “gravity”. When we let go of self-awareness and self-hashgocha, there’s no telling what we may do or say. In other words when the fundamental drive inside of us is to do good and that engine is always running, then we are assured of not falling into the grips of negative behaviors. But where does drive and energy emanate from? They come from the heart for when the heart is “pumpling” there’s drive and motivation but when it’s “dead, we’re also “dead”.
Motivation is the subject of much thought and discussion as to how to promote it but Chazal teach us that the most effective means to stimulate motivation and an energized heart is through action. It may not feel so exciting at first but through the principle of “fake it till you make it” a person can reach an emotional attachment to the behavior he’s trying to develop with his heart also being “in it”.
The Chazon Ish, however, taught us that our goal is to develop a good heart for that is where the energy of always doing good will flow. Having a heart and enthusiasm unto themselves will not do “the trick”. All too often we witness people full of vigor and passion devoted to all sorts of causes which can appear on the surface as altruistic and an expression of chessed and avodah but because they are not founded upon the 3rd pillar - of Torah, in reality, they are not.
For, we’re not merely seeking heart but we’re seeking a good heart, one that is informed and driven by the ultimate good of Torah.
Returning to Lag BaOmer.
The first two segments of sefira - the first 32 days - correspond to chessed and avodah which we pointed out helps to develop heart. The gematria of heart is 32! But the last segment consists of 18 days and the gematria of Tov is 18! Hence the final stage of preparation is to refine the heart to be a good heart solidly founded upon the objective truth of Torah.
May we all merit to develop and sustain a Lev Tov.