The Omer

6 years ago Leighest 0

By Gabrielle Sharbin

When getting excited for an upcoming event, we often find ourselves counting down the days until it takes place. I have downloaded countdown apps, which provide me with the exact number of days, hours, minutes, and seconds until the last day of school, my birthday or anything I have been absolutely ecstatic about.

What many of us do not know is that people didn’t just start doing this in recent times. In fact, our ancestors have been counting down days for thousands upon thousands of years. This is called the counting of the Omer.

When the Jewish people left Egypt, and escaped slavery to head to our homeland, Israel, they were told that they would soon be given the holiest book of all, the Torah. Although it took them 40 years to get to Israel, 49 days after they left Egypt, they were given the Torah.

During this time, the Jewish people would count down the days until they would be given the Torah on Mount Sinai. 1 2 3 3 5…49 days passed, and on the 50th we were presented with the Torah! Sure, the end of essays, tests, and immense amounts of homework is exciting, as is becoming another year older. But can you imagine the excitement and anticipation building up to being given the Torah! It’s the greatest countdown of all time!

In order to commemorate, and remember such a countdown, thousands of years later we do the exact same thing which our ancestors did long ago. Every night, at sundown upon welcoming a new day and saying goodbye to the next, we recite a Bracha (Blessing) and count whichever day it is.

If you happen to forget to count the night before, you can always count the next day without a Bracha. Today is the 13th day of the Omer meaning last night when the sun came down we counted for day 13 and tonight we shall do the same except for day 14. This means it has been 13 days since the second night of Pesach, and we have 36 more days until Shavuot when Hashem gave us with the most wonderful present anyone could receive, the Torah!