What’s an Omer? | BreslovTorah.com

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What’s an Omer?

A Measurement of Grain

Simply counting the days between Pesach (Passover) and Shavuos renews the health and power of every Jewish soul.

The word עמר – omer (ayin, mem, reish) – refers to the amount of barley or other grain that can be harvested with three strokes of a sickle or a scythe. We begin counting the days of the omer at the time of the barley harvest at Pesach (Passover) and we continue all the way up to the wheat harvest that begins near Shavuos.

Barley and Wheat

Why do we begin with barley and end with wheat? Barley is considered animal food; wheat is for people. So the process of counting the omer reflects the process of developing from animal to human. What distinguishes people from animals? כח הדיבור – ko-ach haDibur – the power of speech. Rabbi Nachman explains that when a child begins eating wheat, he begins developing the ability to express himself in words.

A Seven Week Process

The word ha-omer  equals seven times the word ADaM – man. Why do we say ha-omer? Ha-omer is spelled  hey (5), plus ayin (70), plus mem (40), reysh (200) so the gematria is 315.

ADaM is 45:  alef (1), daled (4) mem (40). Seven times forty-five is 315. So ha-omer equals seven times ADaM. The seven weeks of the omer parallel the harvesting and processing of grain: reaping, sifting, refining.

Harvest of Miracles

The miracle of counting the omer is: we accomplish all 49 aspects of profound inner transformation simply by using our power of speech! All we need to do is count each day between Pesach and Shavuos in a voice loud enough for us to hear what we’re saying.

There’s a blessing we say, as well. But it can only be said if we haven’t missed a day.

Missed a Day? Don’t Worry!

We heard from our teacher, Reb Michel Dorfman זצ”ל that if we miss counting the omer with a bracha (saying the blessing) to the extent that we can’t continue with saying the bracha, we should continue counting without the bracha but without diminishing our joy in the slightest!

(c) 2017 by Sara Wurtzel

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