Thursday, May 24, 2012

At least count the Omer today. Only 2 more chances this year

Parashat Bemidbar

Numbers 1:1−4:20
May 26, 2012 / 5 Sivan 5772
This week’s commentary was written by Rabbi Abigail Treu, Rabbinic Fellow and Director of Planned Giving, JTS.
“Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes. How do you measure, measure a year?”
The question asked in the chorus of “Seasons of Love,” made ever more poignant by the tragic death of its composer-lyricist, Jonathan D. Larson, just months before Rent opened on Broadway in 1996, has been rattling lately in my mind. After all, we are doing an awful lot of counting this week: we count the final days of the Omer, and, as our parashah begins, take the census of the Israelite community. What does all of this counting have to do with the ways in which we measure what really matters?
First, the counting of the Omer, which culminates in Shavu’ot this weekend: it is deceptively simple. All you have to do is count every night, increasing the count by one each day, and at the end you’ll have reached Shavu’ot―a seemingly mundane mitzvah, the blessing over which is nothing more than praising God for the command to count. And yet it is for many one of the most difficult mitzvot to keep. Who among us remembers to count it without fail every night? Somehow not a year goes by without a slip-up. It turns out that counting days is not so easy after all.

The Omer is counted every evening after nightfall, from the second night of Passover till the night before Shavuot.

Forgot to count the Omer at night? Count the following day, but without a blessing. On subsequent nights, continuecounting with a blessing as usual. The blessing is made only if every day has been counted; if you missed a day, say the day's count without the blessing.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us concerning the counting of the Omer.
Begin here if counting during daytime hours, or if you haven't counted every day since the beginning of this year's count:
this year's count:
Today is forty-eight days, which is six weeks and six days of the Omer.

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