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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

Counting the Omer

Please forgive that I am sending two posts in 24 hours....This is a procrastination post, not done or sent because I was preparing for the holiday and then the holiday, well, it came!

I love counting the Omer....I am not sure why! Is it the challenge of not forgetting? Is it the elaborate system of timers that I try to put on Alexa and my phone (and my husband's phone?). Is it because once you fall off you cannot climb back on? Or is it because it is an opportunity to be mindful for one or two minutes a day? To say the blessing deliberately; to keep the count between one and 49.

So far we haven't forgotten. We were on night 5 last night and are, all being well, on the road to counting the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot, between freedom and the giving of the law.

There are so many Omer counters out there....mystical, practical, historical, mindful.

This Omer marker is just something I am writing out for myself (and maybe you?) to think about for a moment each evening.

I know that it is late into the count, but if you would like to do the exercise....start now!

Let me know if you are joining with me for this exercise!

Night 1: Thinking about freedom

Night 2: Thinking about goals for these days of counting

Night 3: Thinking about your relationship to nature

Night 4: Thinking about your relationship to friends

Night 5: Thinking about your self care and health

Night 6: Thinking about your connection to spirituality

Night 7: Thinking about the blessings you have been given

Night 8: Thinking about a prayer that you relate to

Night 9: Reflecting on family relationships

Night 10: Reflecting on your connection to your community

Night 11: Reflecting on what you give to a community

Night 12: Reflecting on nature and your connection to it

Night 13: Reflecting on your relationship to giving of yourself

Night 14: Reflecting on your relationship to giving of your funds

Night 15: Reflecting on your own sense of self

Night 16: Reflecting on a book you have read which has helped you grow

Night 17 Reflecting on a bad habit and steps you can take to improve

Night 18: Acknowledging something that you do well and are proud of

Night 19: Thinking about your parents and lessons you have learned from them- being grateful

Night 20: Thinking of your siblings and lessons you have learned from them-being grateful

Night 21: Thinking about steps you can take to help someone someone, one thing

Night 22: Reflecting on a parsha that speaks to you

Night 23: Reflecting on one psalm that speaks to you (find it in the book of Psalms or the early morning service)

Night 24: Reflecting on how you use language

Night 25: Reflecting on how you listen to others

Night 26: Reflect on how you relate to how you use your time

Night 27: Reflect on your relationship to Israel

Night 28: Reflect on your relationship to clothing

Night 29: Reflecting on your relationship with your phone

Night 30: Thinking about work and workplaces

Night 31: Thinking about how you can make a difference in your neighborhood

Night 32: Thinking about being a better parent

Night 33 : Reflecting on joy on this day, L'ag B'Omer

Night 34: Thinking about a dear one who has departed this world

Night 35: Thinking about a beauty and what that means to you

Night 36: Thinking about the book of Ruth and its many lessons

Night 38: Thinking about something you would like to learn at a tikkun

Night 39: Thinking about something you could teach at a tikkun

Night 40: Thinking about your place in a world that is so large and so full of problems

Night 41: Thinking about gardening

Night 42: Thinking about the role of music in your spiritual life

Night 43: Thinking about torah, Moses and the cast of characters that brings us Shavuot

Night 44: Thinking of the concept of patience and waiting

Night 45: Thinking about a virtue you would like to cultivate

Night 46: Think about Shabbat and its value in your life

Night 47: Think about recipes for the holiday

Night 48: Think about converts to Judaism and how they have enriched the Jewish people

Night 49: Reflecting on the value of lifelong learning and your learning path


The counting of the omer begins on the second night of Passover. Jews in the Diaspora generally integrate this counting into the second seder.

The omer is counted each evening after sundown. The counting of the omer is generally appended to the end of Ma’ariv (the evening service), as well.

One stands when counting the omer, and begins by reciting the following blessing:

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha’Olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tizivanu al sefirat ha’omer. Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who has sanctified us with your commandments and commanded us to count the omer.

After the blessing, one recites the appropriate day of the count. For example:

Hayom yom echad la’omer Today is the first day of the omer.

After the first six days, one also includes the number of weeks that one has counted. For example:

Hayom sh’losha asar yom, she’hem shavuah echad v’shisha yamim la’omer Today is 13 days, which is one week and six days of the omer

The blessing for counting the omer, as well as the language for each day of counting, appears in most prayer books at the end of the text for the evening service.

Because the blessing should precede the counting (and not the other way around), many Jews will not say what day of the omer it is until after the ritual counting. Thus, the reminder about what day to count is often phrased as “yesterday was the fifth day of the omer.”

Many people precede the counting of the omer with a meditation that states one’s intention to fulfill the commandment. This meditation serves to focus the individual on the task at hand and to remind him/her of the biblical basis of the commandment:

Hineni muchan um’zuman l’kayem mitzvat aseh shel s’firat ha’omer k’mo shekatuv baTorah: Us’fartem lakhem mimaharat hashabbat miyom havi’echem et omer hat’nufa, sheva shabbatot t’mimot tihiyenah. Ad mimaharat hashabbat hash’vi’it tisp’ru chamishim yom. Behold, I am ready and prepared to fulfill the mitzvah of counting the omer, as it says in the Torah: You shall count from the eve of the second day of Pesach, when an omer of grain is to be brought as an offering, seven complete weeks. The day after the seventh week of your counting will make fifty days.

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