Counting the Omer ספירת העמר
(skip this on the first night - the Omer count begins on the second night)
“Omer” means “measures.” When the Temple stood, it was customary to bring harvest
offerings three times a year, at Sukkot, Pesach, and Shavuot. The tradition of Counting the
Omer dates to those days. We measured the seven weeks between planting new barley and
harvesting it; then offered a measure, in thanks, to our Source.
Now that few of us are barley farmers, and the Temple no longer stands, practices like
counting the Omer must take on new meaning. Shavuot is the anniversary of the day when we
accepted the teachings of Torah at Sinai a holiday to anticipate joyfully. We count the Omer
the way we count days to birthdays or vacations, eager for what’s coming.
Tonight we celebrate our freedom from slavery; in fifty days we will celebrate our acceptance
of the Torah’s teachings. Counting the Omer reminds us that we are freed not only from, but
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ רוּחַ הַעולָם,
Baruch atah, Adonai, eloheinu ruach ha’olam,
אָשֶר קִדשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָנוּ
asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu
אַל סְפִירַת הַעמֶר.
al s’firat ha’omer.
Blessed are you, Adonai, Breath of Life, who sanctifies us with the commandment to count the
הַיוֹם יוֹם אֶחַד לָעמֶר
Hayom yom echad la’omer! !
Today is the first day of the Omer!
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