Forgot To Count The Omer Last Night? There’s Really No Excuse, You Have Apps For That…

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We are now in the process of doing a daily count of the Omer, (the 49 days between Pesach and Shavuot), as the Torah tells us “u’sefartem lachem” to actually count these days one by one, as we head on a journey from slavery and exile in Egypt to exodus and Divine revelation at Sinai.  So every night from the second night of Pesach onwards we count: Today is one day of the Omer, two days of the Omer, three days etc.  Eventually, after forty nine days of daily focus on time, we reach the 50th day – the Festival of Shavuot, when we receive the Torah afresh each year.

There are  several apps on the  mobile market that can help with counting the Omer.  Check it out.

iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad)
  • Ultimate Omer 2 (dev. Moshe Berman) – $1.99
  • Omer Counter (dev. David G. Cooper and Rabbi David M. Seidenberg)– $0.99  or  Free
  • The Omer Count (dev. Uri Dvir) – $0.99
  • Sefiros Grow (Mosaica Press, TorahLab, Rabbi Yaacov Haber with Rabbi David Sedley) – $1.99  or  Free
  • Sefirat HaOmer (dev. RustyBrick) – Free
Android

 

Counting the days helps us focus on the moment, to value each and every day.  All too often we take time for granted: sometimes we feel time is dragging, or moving slowly; sometimes we even try to kill time. Look at the research on how many office workers spend hours per day playing solitaire, or browsing the web, lacking that fervent drive to utilise every moment.

It reminds me of the story of the team of cannibals who were hired to work for a large management company.  After a month has passed an emergency meeting is called, and the CEO asks everyone if they have seen the janitor. The staff all reply that they have not seen him, and the meeting closes.

After the boss has left, the leader of the cannibals says to the others, “Which of you idiots ate the janitor?” One hand is raised hesitantly, to which the leader of the cannibals replies, “You idiot!  For four weeks we’ve been eating Team Leaders,  Supervisors and  Project Managers and no one noticed a thing, and you had to go and eat the janitor!

What the counting of the Omer helps us to focus on is that time is passing us by, a gentle daily reminder that every second of every day is precious.

We all know of people who have received that dreaded verdict from their doctor, giving them a defined time left to live, and of course it is only G-d who can make those decisions. But it is often only in those situations that we suddenly begin to truly appreciate the value of every single minute. Only when we really need time do we realise its full value … and often when it is too late.

Let us take the message from the Counting of the Omer about the value of time, of every minute of every day, and G-d willing, when we fill our time with Torah study, with mitzvah observance, with loving and caring for those around us we will merit to be “oleh regel” – to spend this Shavuot in Jerusalem together in the third Beit Hamikdash.

Rabbi Zalman Lent

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