"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Your S'firat Ha'omer Guide, 5759
Nissan 15-Sivan 5, 5759
April 1-May 19, 1999
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"I BELIEVE WITH COMPLETE FAITH IN THE ARRIVAL OF THE MOSHIACH.
"AND THOUGH HE MAY TARRY, I SHALL WAIT EACH DAY, ANTICIPATING HIS
Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12
THIS PUBLICATION IS DEDICATED
TO THE REBBE,
RABBI MENACHEM M. SCHNEERSON
In honor of his 97th birthday,
11 Nissan, 5759
Click here, to see pictures
of the Rebbe
The Daily Sicha (in Real Audio)
- Listen to selected excerpts of the Rebbe's Sichos
[talks] which are relevant to the particular day.
We are pleased to present, to the visually impaired and the blind, our weekly
publication, Living With Moshiach.
In this issue, we focus on the laws of S'firat Ha'omer, the counting
of the Omer.
Therefore, we present here "Your S'firat Ha'omer Guide" and other
related material about counting the Omer.
This Jewish year, is the year 5759 since Creation. The Hebrew letters are
Hei-Tav-Shin-Nun-Tes. Over a decade ago, in the year 5742, the Rebbe
stated that the Hebrew letters for that year were an acronym for "This should
be the year of the coming of Moshiach."
Since that time, the Rebbe has publicized a phrase describing the year according
to the acronym of its Hebrew letters. This year has been designated by the
Rebbe's followers as "Hoyo T'hei Shnas Niflaos Tovoh" meaning "It
surely will be a good year of wondrous miracles."
Our sincere appreciation to
publication, published by the Lubavitch Youth Organization, for allowing
us to use their material.
Also, many thanks to our copy editor, Reb
his tireless efforts.
It is our fervent hope that our learning about Moshiach and the Redemption
will hasten the coming of Moshiach, NOW!
Rabbi Yosef Y. Shagalov,
Committee for the Blind
Erev Pesach, 5759
Brooklyn, New York
"What more can I do to motivate the whole world to cry out and demand the
Redemption?... I have done all I can; now you must do whatever you can. May
it be G-d's will that there will be one, two, or three among you who will
appreciate what needs to be done and how it needs to be done, and may you
actually be successful and bring about the complete Redemption, immediately!"
(The Rebbe, 28 Nissan, 5751/1991)
The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of Lubavitch, issued a call that
"The time of our Redemption has arrived!" and "Moshiach is on his
The Rebbe stressed that he is saying this
prophecy, and asks us all to prepare ourselves for the Redemption,
through increasing acts of goodness and kindness.
Let us all heed the Rebbe's call.
During(1) the days of the Omer, we eagerly
count the days from Pesach until Shavuot, looking forward to
receiving the Torah anew.
The Torah says, "And you shall count seven full weeks, from the day after
your festival, when you bring the Omer as a wave offering...." (Vayikra
What is the Omer? Why is it connected with counting these days?
Here is the answer.
In the Holy Land, barley ripens in the spring, in the month of Nissan.
In the time of the Beis HaMikdosh, the new crop could not be used
until an amount of barley, called an "Omer," was offered on the Great
Altar in the Sanctuary. This is how it took place:
Right after the first day of Pesach, on the eve of the 16th of
Nissan, prominent Torah scholars and members of the Supreme Court
(Bet-Din) would go out into a field of barley near Jerusalem
that had been prepared before Yom Tov.
All the neighboring villagers would gather to watch the ceremony.
Three men using three sickles would cut three measures of barley, which they
would put in three boxes.
Once it was dark, the head of the reapers would say, "Has the sun set?"
"Yes," everyone would reply.
"Has the sun set?" he would ask again.
"Has the sun set?"
A third time they would answer, "Yes."
Then he would point to the sickle and ask three times, "Is this the sickle?"
"Is this the sickle?"--"Yes."
"Is this the sickle?"--"Yes."
In the same way, he would ask three times, "Is this the box?"--"Yes."
"Is this the box?"--"Yes."
"Is this the box?"--"Yes."
If it was Shabbat, he would also ask three times, "Is it
This showed everybody that the mitzvah of cutting the Omer
pushes off the Shabbat.
Finally he would ask, "Shall I reap?"
"Yes," they would answer.
"Shall I reap?"--"Yes."
"Shall I reap?"--"Yes."
This whole ceremony was very awesome. What was it all for?
Unfortunately, there were people at that time who rebelled against the Sages.
They were called Beitusim. They tried to get people not to listen
to the teachings of the Sages.
One of their arguments was that the Omer should only be cut on a Saturday
night, after Shabbat.
In fact, in the Torah it says that the time for cutting the Omer is
"the day after Shabbat." The Beitusim said this meant the day
after Shabbat itself. But the Sages had the tradition from Mt. Sinai,
that Yom Tov is also called Shabbat, and the Omer should
be cut the day after Yom Tov!
They made a big ceremony out of it, so that it would be clear to everyone
that the Beitusim were not correct. The Omer had to be cut
the day after Yom Tov, even on Shabbat!
After the barley had been cut, it was placed in the three boxes and brought
to the Beis HaMikdosh. Since it was still green and soft, it was dried
and roasted in such a way that the fire touched every grain. Then it was
spread out in the courtyard for the wind to blow through it. Finally it was
ground up with millstones into flour.
Of the three measures (se'ah) of barley that had been reaped in the
field, only one tenth was taken for the offering. This quantity is called
This Omer was then sieved thirteen times, over and over again, until
it was fine and pure.
The next day, the barley flour was burned as an offering on the
Mizbayach, the Great Altar. Before burning it, the kohen would
wave it in every direction in honor of the One to Whom the whole world belongs.
It was as if he were saying, "Thank you, G-d, for the harvest. Thank you
for the very bread we eat."
* * *
In the Midrash it says that the Omer shows us how kind G-d
is to His people. When the Jews were in the wilderness, G-d gave every single
one of them an Omer of manna every day. Now that the Jewish
people had come into the Holy Land, all G-d asked in return was a single
Omer from the whole Jewish people. Nor did they need to bring it every
day. Once a year was enough. And barley, a poor man's grain, was all G-d
Our Sages also taught that Pesach is the time when the crops are ripening.
At this time, G-d judges the world in regard to food, particularly grain.
At such a moment G-d says to us, "Bring me an Omer of barley on
Pesach, and I will bless the grain in your fields for the whole year."
By counting these days, we remember that the world is being judged. Will
there be hunger or plenty? At this time we should return to G-d with a complete
heart, and beg Him to have mercy on us and on all His creatures, and on the
land, so that the harvest may grow as required.
Nowadays, we do not have the Beis HaMikdosh, and we cannot bring the
Omer offering, but we pray that by doing G-d's mitzvah of Counting
the Omer with joy in our hearts, we may merit His ultimate blessing,
that He should speedily restore the Beis HaMikdosh, and reestablish
His Kingship throughout the world, with the revelation of Moshiach, Now.
1. Adapted from
Times, published by Tzivos
On the second night of Pesach, we begin S'firat Ha'omer, counting
forty-nine days between Pesach and Shavuot, the day when the
Torah was given to the Children of Israel. This is done every night following
the evening prayer leading up to the night before Shavuot.
We use this time to prepare ourselves to receive the Torah, just as our ancestors
did at Mt. Sinai.
Edited by Rabbi Y. K. Marlow
(Head of Bet-Din of Crown Heights)
We begin counting the Omer on the second night of Pesach, Thursday,
April 1, 1999.
It is most proper to count the Omer at the beginning of the night,
immediately following the evening prayer. However, it is permissible to count
the Omer throughout the night.
If you forget to count at nightfall, but have reminded yourself before dawn,
you may count then, with the blessing.
If you forget to count at night; you can count throughout the next day
(without saying the blessing). The following evening you can count
again with the blessing.
If you forget to count for a whole day, you should still keep on counting
the days until Shavuot, but you do not say the blessing any more.
If you are in doubt whether you counted the previous night, even though you
definitely did not count during the day, you may recite the blessing when
counting on the subsequent nights.
Every night, after nightfall, after having recited the evening prayer,
say the following blessing, and then count the proper day:
Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom
A-sher Ki-de-sho-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Ve-tzi-vo-nu
Al Se-fi-ras Ho-omer.
Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe,
who has sanctified us with His commandments, and
commanded us concerning the counting of the Omer.
Then we count the day, saying:
"Today is one day (or two days, or three days, etc.) of the
Nissan 15-Sivan 5,
April 1-May 19, 1999
Thurs. eve., April 1 - count Omer 1.
Fri. eve., April 2 - count Omer 2.
Sat. eve., April 3 - count Omer 3.
Sun. eve., April 4 - count Omer 4.
Mon. eve., April 5 - count Omer 5.
Tues. eve., April 6 - count Omer 6.
Wed. eve., April 7 - count Omer 7.
Thurs. eve., April 8 - count Omer 8.
Fri. eve., April 9 - count Omer 9.
Sat. eve., April 10 - count Omer 10.
Sun. eve., April 11 - count Omer 11.
Mon. eve., April 12 - count Omer 12.
Tues. eve., April 13 - count Omer 13.
Wed. eve., April 14 - count Omer 14.
Thurs. eve., April 15 - count Omer 15.
Fri. eve., April 16 - count Omer 16.
Sat. eve., April 17 - count Omer 17.
Sun. eve., April 18 - count Omer 18.
Mon. eve., April 19 - count Omer 19.
Tues. eve., April 20 - count Omer 20.
Wed. eve., April 21 - count Omer 21.
Thurs. eve., April 22 - count Omer 22.
Fri. eve., April 23 - count Omer 23.
Sat. eve., April 24 - count Omer 24.
Sun. eve., April 25 - count Omer 25.
Mon. eve., April 26 - count Omer 26.
Tues. eve., April 27 - count Omer 27.
Wed. eve., April 28 - count Omer 28.
Thurs. eve., April 29 - count Omer 29.
Fri. eve., April 30 - count Omer 30.
Sat. eve., May 1 - count Omer 31.
Sun. eve., May 2 - count Omer 32.
Mon. eve., May 3 - count Omer 33.
Tues. eve., May 4 - count Omer 34.
Wed. eve., May 5 - count Omer 35.
Thurs. eve., May 6 - count Omer 36.
Fri. eve., May 7 - count Omer 37.
Sat. eve., May 8 - count Omer 38.
Sun. eve., May 9 - count Omer 39.
Mon. eve., May 10 - count Omer 40.
Tues. eve., May 11 - count Omer 41.
Wed. eve., May 12 - count Omer 42.
Thurs. eve., May 13 - count Omer 43.
Fri. eve., May 14 - count Omer 44.
Sat. eve., May 15 - count Omer 45.
Sun. eve., May 16 - count Omer 46.
Mon. eve., May 17 - count Omer 47.
Tues. eve., May 18 - count Omer 48.
Wed. eve., May 19 - count Omer 49.