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    Why we count the Omer – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why do we count the Omer?

    A. The Torah commands (Lev. 23:15), ‘”You shall count for yourselves from the day after the day of rest (i.e. after the first day of Pesach)… seven complete weeks”.

    Two earlier verses indicate that on the second day of Pesach an omer (about seven measures) of barley was presented to God out of the first fruits of the harvest. The forty-nine days of the Omer lead up to the festival of Shavu’ot.

    Maimonides says, “We count the days that pass since the preceding festival just as a person who expects his close friend on a certain day counts the days and even the hours. This is the reason why we count the days that pass after the offering of the omer, between the anniversary of our departure from Egypt and the anniversary of the giving of the Torah which is the aim and object of the exodus from Egypt.”

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