Make the counting count

 

Instead of counting down toward the big day, with the Omer we count up

The Jewish people left Egypt on Passover, and 50 days later (on the holiday of Shavuot) received the Torah at Mount Sinai. Today, in revisiting that Sinai experience, we observe a special mitzvah called “Counting the Omer,” where we actually count aloud each of these days, beginning on the second night of Passover. (The Omer was a special offering brought to the Holy Temple during this season.)

Counting in anticipation of an exciting event is quite understandable. At one time or another, we’ve all probably said something like, “Grandma’s coming to visit in a week and a half,” or “Only 17 more days til my birthday!” But there’s one subtle difference: The usual method is to count down toward the big day, whereas in the case of the Omer, we count up ― from one to 50. Why the difference?

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