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First Day of the Omer
The Omer (“sheaf”) was a harvest offering brought to the Temple on the second day of Passover. There is a further command that, from the day when the Omer was brought, seven weeks were to be counted, and on the 50th day a festival was to be celebrated. This festival was later called Shavuot, “the Feast of Weeks” because it falls on the day after the seven weeks have been counted.
In the Rabbinic tradition, all this was understood to mean that, even after the destruction of the Temple, each individual should actually count these days, by saying each day, “This is the __ day of the Omer.” Among the many interpretations given to counting the Omer is that Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah while Passover celebrates the Exodus from Egypt. The free man, as he reminds himself of the bondage in Egypt, counts each day towards the even greater freedom enjoyed by those who live by the Torah. (from My Jewish Learning)
BA-RUCH A-TAH ADO-NAI E-LO-HE-NU ME-LECH HA-OLAM ASHER KID-E-SHA-NU BE-MITZ-VO-TAV VETZI-VA-NU AL SEFI-RAT HA-OMER.
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.
- March 29
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