Tuesday, April 15, 2014

When you thought that Passover was enough...

we begin to count the Omer!

 ספירת העומר

Sefirat HaOmer

For those of you who don't know, the second night of Passover is the starting of the Counting of the Omer.  The biblical requirement to count the omer comes from Leviticus, and dicates that you should count the 50 days between Passover and Shavuot.  While many of us think that after Passover there aren't any holidays, if you count the Omer there is something fun to do everyday!

According to the rules you are supposed to count the omer each night, starting on Tuesday, April 15th.  You should count the omer when it's nighttime (typically when there are 3 stars in the sky, or 30 minutes after sundown) and count each night until you get to 50.  You say the day of the count, and the week of the count (today is day 15, which is 2 weeks and one day) There is a prayer that's said each night as well:
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.
If you forget to count one evening, you can still count during the day, just no saying the prayer.  However, if you forget an entire day then you are 'out for the count.'

Since no one wants to start counting the omer then have to stop because they forgot, you'll often find people setting up Omer counters during the week before Passover as well.  This is a great way to get your kids involved, and a great time to reflect on the meaning of the week.

Now, I've never counted the Omer before.  But I'm always looking for ways to more actively engage with my little EG and with our family in general.  Unfortunately I've had a hard time finding any type of interactive counter that would work with my little one.  So, I've turned to Advent calendars, and I think I'm going to set-up this type:
Or here's a mom who followed this Advent style for Chanukkah:
I think I'm going to put some sort of treat in each bag, and hopefully a little card with what to think about following one of these traditions:

Biblical Women
Traditional Omer Thoughts
Plants for the Omer

PJ Library also has some good resources for counting the Omer here.  Since this is our first time participating in the event I think we'll stick with the traditional Omer thoughts and work our way around from there.  I like the idea of focusing on something for the week, and new ways to look at that item each day.  I do plan to put some sort of treat in each bag, even though the time of the Omer is traditionally not a time for celebrations...I think it's important that while we reflect we also have something to motivate us more externally.  Hopefully a little treat will do just that.  I'll try to post pictures when it's up, and give you a report about how it goes!
If you aren't feeling very crafty, or maybe you want a little more fun you can count the 'Homer Calendar' during this time as well.  Any way you choose, maybe you'll throw a little Omer into your home this year!

Love this!  Thanks Keren Keet!

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