Counting the Omer - Day Twenty-Five

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Daily Counting of the Omer
April 4 – May 22

The Torah teaches that we mark the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot with a daily counting.

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Inspirational quotations were submitted by community members.

How We Count the Omer
The Torah tells us that when we count the Omer:

  • On days one through seven – Each day is counted. For example: "Today is one day of the Omer."
  • After the seventh day – We count both days and weeks. For example: "Today is eight days, which is one week and one day of the Omer."
  • Each day, a blessing is recited – Baruh Atah ADONAI, Eloheinu Melek ha'olam, asher kidshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu al sefirat ha'omer (Blessed are You, GOD, ETERNAL ONE, who has sanctified us with commandments and instructed us to count the Omer).

Why count both days and weeks? The Torah states, "You shall count fifty days," of the Omer, yet also says "Count seven complete weeks."

Why pair the Sheva Middot? We can pair the seven measures 49 ways, which equals the number of days between Passover and Shavuot. Incorporating our Sheva Middot into the Omer counting adds a deeper layer of meaning to the experience.

Counting the Days of Harvest
Passover and Shavuot both take place during the harvest season. In Biblical times, Shavuot marked the end of the barley harvest and the beginning of the wheat harvest. A sheaf of barley was set aside each of the 49 days of the Omer and offered as a sacrifice to GOD in hopes that the land might produce enough crops for the following season.

Harvest was an anxiety-filled time for communities whose livelihood depended on agriculture, and the 49 days of the Omer took on a solemn tone of semi-mourning. To acknowledge this somber mood, some mourning customs are observed during this time: restrictions on music, no weddings and no haircuts. The somber mood is broken by Rosh Hodesh (the beginning of a new Hebrew month), Lag Ba-omer (the 33rd day of the counting) and Israel Independence Day.

Counting the Days from Slavery to Revelation
In the rabbinic period, the celebration of Shavuot included the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. Because it took 49 days from Egypt to reach the foot of Mount Sinai, Shavuot celebrates revelation upon receiving the Torah. The Sinai experience marks a key turning point in the development of the Jewish people – when a loose band of former slaves became a nation.