During the time of the Beis Hamikdosh [Temple], there was a mitzvah on the second night of Pesach to harvest a measurement of three sa'ah of barley. The following day, (the second day of Pesach), there was a mitzvah to bring a portion of this harvest, the size of an omer [about 3.3 dry quarts], to the Beis Hamikdosh. On the fiftieth day, after the forty-nine days of counting, there was a mitzvah to bring the first offering of the year from new wheat. Nowadays, since we do not have a Beis Hamikdash, the Omer is neither harvested nor offered. Nevertheless, there is still a mitzvah to count the Omer.
The count goes for 49 days. The 50th night begins the holiday of Shavuos; Shavuos means "weeks," referring to these 7 weeks of counting. Shavuos is the day G-d gave the Torah, and thus the entire counting period becomes one of continuous elevation and preparation - from the status of an Egyptian slave to one ready to receive the Torah.
The mitzvah is to count both days and weeks. Therefore, on the eighth day,
we say, "today is eight days, which are one week and one day in the omer."
The Omer may be counted in any language, as long as it is understood by the
The Jewish days begin at sundown, and we wait until full dark to count the Omer.
Each day, one says the blessing:
Blessed are You, A-d-noy, our G-d, King of the universe, Who has sanctified
us with His commandments and has commanded us concerning the counting of
Then one says (for the first six days):
Today is ___ day[s] of the Omer.
After 6 days, one includes the weeks:
Today is ___ days, which are ___ week[s] [and ___ day[s]], of the Omer.
Today is 22 days, which are 3 weeks and 1 day of the Omer.
Then one concludes:
The Merciful One, may He return to us the service of the Temple to its
place, speedily in our days. Amen, Selah!
Many say additional prayers as found in most any Siddur (prayer book).
One must count in a language which he or she understands - thus we have
offered the English here, while the Hebrew can again be found in a Siddur.
If one forgets to count on any evening, one may count during the daylight
hours of the following day without a blessing, and then resume counting
with a blessing that evening. However, if one forgets to count during an
entire day (until sundown the following day), then one may not say a
blessing again, but must count the Omer without a blessing. Thus
remembering to count the Omer is very important!
So, subscribe to
, the sefira Counting The Omer Reminder List and receive a daily reminder to count the Omer. We are glad to provide this reminder service, and we hope it will prove
a valuable service to our readers. We want to thank Nachum Hurvitz for suggesting this idea.
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