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What is the counting of the Omer?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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


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Starting from the second day of Passover, we are commanded to count forty-nine days. The fiftieth day is the holiday of Shavuot (outside the land of Israel, Shavuot is a two-day festival--the fiftieth and fifty-first day from the start of the count). Every individual is commanded to count the days of the Omer. You can find the blessing and the associated prayers in your prayer-book or online at chabad.org.

This counting is called the “Counting of the Omer” because on the second day of Passover the barley “Omer” offering was offered in the Holy Temple. We count forty-nine days from this offering. [In Hebrew, the word Omer literally means a certain measure; the required amount of barley for this sacrifice.]

One is supposed to count the Omer at night. It is customary to do the counting before the Aleinu of the Maariv prayer.

See also Why do we count the Omer? and How do I count the Omer?


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Passover
A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.
Shavuot
Early summer festival marking the day when the Jews received the Torah at Mount Sinai in the year 2448 (1312 BCE).
Omer
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.]
Maariv
Evening prayer service. One of the three prayers a Jew is obligated to pray every day.
Temple
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.