The Omer and the State of the World

Even in the wake of our tragedy this past week, we are called to an ancient tradition of daily mindfulness – the Counting of the Omer.

 What is this?

 In the Torah the Omer are the forty-nine days between the Second Night of Passover and our next festival – Shavuot. We count them because Shavuot, which means “weeks”, is reached when we finish counting the seven weeks’ worth of days. Shavuot was not given a date in the Torah so that we would have reason to count towards it.

 Every year I look forward to this season. It is meaningful to take a moment every evening to note and count the day.

There are apps to remind us when to count, and books and reflections to help us find intellectual, spiritual, and emotional depth in this season of counting.

Here are a few great Omer resources:

-      Counting the Omer App,

for iPhones:


-      Counting the Omer reflection for today the 13thof the Omer by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat:

-      Omer: A Counting, by Rabbi Karyn Kedar:

When we feel minutes, hours, and days slipping through our fingers in the rush of life, counting each day gives us a minute or two to keep track, to notice, and perhaps to turn our attention to Jewish values and practices that might enhance our lives in small and large ways, in moments both normal and sacred.

 The foundations of our Jewish communal life knit us together through shared cultures and religious traditions and help us cope, connect, and change the world for the better.