What is the counting of the Omer?
by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg
Starting from the second day of Passover, we are commanded to count forty-nine days. The fiftieth day is the holiday of Shavuot (outside the land of Israel, Shavuot is a two-day festival--the fiftieth and fifty-first day from the start of the count). Every individual is commanded to count the days of the Omer. You can find the blessing and the associated prayers in your prayer-book or online at chabad.org.
This counting is called the “Counting of the Omer” because on the second day of Passover the barley “Omer” offering was offered in the Holy Temple. We count forty-nine days from this offering. [In Hebrew, the word Omer literally means a certain measure; the required amount of barley for this sacrifice.]
One is supposed to count the Omer at night. It is customary to do the counting before the Aleinu of the Maariv prayer.
See also Why do we count the Omer? and How do I count the Omer?
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