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For the Omer why do we count the days past and not days to come?


Library » Holidays » Counting the Omer | Subscribe | What is RSS?


Rabbi Avi: Welcome. I'll be with you in a moment...How are you today and what is your question for me?

belle: Why do we count the Omer up, instead of down?

Rabbi Avi: that's a superb question

Rabbi Avi: we count what we have fulfilled

Rabbi Avi: not what is left

belle: ok...

Rabbi Avi: that would be counting (and making a blessing) on something NOT tangable

Rabbi Avi: we need to make a blessing on what IS tangable

belle: what does tangable mean

Rabbi Avi: something you can TOUCH

Rabbi Avi: something REAL

Rabbi Avi: not something that isn't YET real

Rabbi Avi: the days that we reach or live through those are real

belle: ok

Rabbi Avi: you can say I did THIS and that on that day

Rabbi Avi: so you can count the day you are living in

Rabbi Avi: but the day that hasn't come yet, who said you will live that long?

Rabbi Avi: and to make a blessing on a day you hope to live but have not yet lived may be a blessing in vain

Rabbi Avi: get it?

Rabbi Avi: (of course you WILL live MANY LONG HEALTHY years to come)

belle: ya...thanks

Rabbi Avi: I G-d forbid wasn't suggesting anythinig morbid

belle: haha i didn't think so

Rabbi Avi: just illustrating why it cannot be on the days left, because they didn't happen yet

Rabbi Avi: does that help

belle: yes thanks you

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.


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Starting from the second day of Passover, we count forty-nine days. The fiftieth day is the holiday of Shavuot. This is called the “Counting of the Omer” because on the second day of Passover the barley “Omer” offering was offered in the Holy Temple, and we count forty-nine days from this offering. [Literally, "Omer" is a certain weight measure; the required amount of barley for this sacrifice.]
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.