As we are approaching Lag Baomer, many of us are stocking up on hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken wings, and buns. We are getting countless invitations to BBQs and parties. This year, as I was finalizing my Lag Baomer plans, I started to think about why BBQs and bonfires seem to symbolize this beautiful holiday.
Lag Baomer, literally the 33rd of the counting of the omer, is a day of tremendous celebration. We mourn during Sefirat Haomer (the days between Passover and Shavuot), because of the plague that claimed the lives of 12,000 pairs of students of Rabbi Akiva. We celebrate because on Lag Baomer, the plague finally ended! So why the bonfires and BBQs? After the plague ended, Rabbi Akiva was able to rebuild, this time with only 5 students, among them the great Torah scholar Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who also passed away during this time, revealed many secrets of the Torah through his study of Kaballah. He brought enormous light into the world through his studies and teaching. Because he passed away on Lag Baomer, the custom of lighting fires and cooking over an open flame symbolizes the powerful light of the Torah.
We all know the basics a BBQ must have. Hamburgers, hot dogs, ketchup, mustard, and buns. I thought it would be fun to explore the possibilities of creating a hot dog toppings BAR. I had a "trial" Lag Baomer BBQ with my family this week to test out my toppings, and I am excited to share with you what I came up with.
Start with regular grilled hot dogs or drive everyone wild with Hot Dogs Stuffed with Vegan Cheese. Get nice buns or even better, make your own and then lay out all these toppings for everyone to build their favorite. Here are my recommended toppings, the ones that are orange are linked to their recipe.
Cranberry horseradish sauce
Fried corned beef
Spicy Cubanelle and Tomatillo Topping
Pareve sour cream
Homemade Crock Pot Chili
What is your favorite?