Q. The Torah says that the counting of the Omer is for 50 days (Lev. 23:16), so why do we in actual fact only count 49 days?
A. The technical explanation is that the 49 days bring us to Shavu’ot, and that is the 50th day.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe, however, adds another dimension. He says that though the 49 days of counting bring us closer and closer to ultimate spirituality, the final goal eludes us.
We elevate ourselves further and further every day of the Omer, but the experience of complete revelation and understanding will always be beyond us.
That realisation must nevertheless not prevent us from trying the experience of elevation. We might not get there, but only if we make the effort do we give ourselves the chance of succeeding.