“The Counting of the Omer, the plague which hit Rabbi Akiva’s students and the hope for the upcoming Lag BaOmer in our time”
From the second night of Passover until the eve of Shavuot we count the Omer for forty-nine days. Every night we stand, we recite the blessing and we count one more day.
It is written in the Torah: “And you shall count from the day following the holiday: from the day that you brought the Omer for rocking it, seven full weeks, will be. Until the day after the seventh week, you shall count fifty days and then offer a new offering to Adonai ” (Vayikra 23: 15-16).
In the Biblical time, this period marked the beginning of the barley harvest when Jews would bring the first sheaves to the Temple as a means of thanking God for the harvest. The word Omer literally means “sheaf” and refers to these early offerings.