Shavuot begins on the sunset of Tuesday, the 7th of June 2011.

The Torah commands the seven week Counting of the Omer, beginning on the second day of Passover and immediately followed by Shavuot. This counting of days and weeks is understood to express anticipation and desire for the Giving of the Torah.

As soon as it is night, the one who is counting the Omer recites this blessing:

“Baruch atah A-donai E-loheinu Melekh Ha-olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al S’firat Ha-omer.”

“Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to count the Omer.”

Then the Omer-count is stated in terms of both total days and weeks and days. For example, on the 23rd day the count would be: “Today is twenty-three days, which is three weeks and two days of (or “in”) the Omer.”

Omer-counters are typically offered for sale during this time, and are displayed in synagogues for the benefit of worshippers who count the Omer with the congregation at the conclusion of evening services. Omer-counters range from decorative boxes with an interior scroll that shows each day’s count through a small opening; to posters and magnets in which each day’s count is recorded on a tear-off piece of paper; to calendars depicting all seven weeks and 49 days of the Omer (a small pointer is advanced from day to day); to pegboards that keep track of both the day and the week of the Omer. Reminders to count the Omer are also produced for hand-held computers and via SMS services for cell phones.”

You will have noticed the numbering of the 10 commandments is different from the Christian numbering. But Christians also have different numbering systems amongst themselves. Those who make much of the ten commandments publicly – it is always interesting to see which version they mean… Also, those who make much of the ten commandments conveniently forget they are addressed to men.

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