Halakhah הֲלָכָה

The time period we’re in right now, between Pesah and Shavuot, is known as the עֹמֶר (omer).

Our parashah explains that the omer was a grain sacrifice that was offered on Pesah in the mishkan. After this sacrifice, people would count seven full weeks until Shavuot (Vayikra 23:15).
While there’s no more omer sacrifice, we still have a mitzvah of סְפִירַת הָעֹמֶר (sefirat ha-omer, counting the omer).
There’s a special בְּרָכָה (berakhah, blessing) to recite before counting:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יהוה, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹֹּתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל סְפִירַת הָעֹמֶר.
Blessed are you, God our Lord, Ruler of the world, who made us holy with the mitzvot and commanded us about counting the omer.
  • When counting, the Shulhan Arukh says to first mention the day of the omer, and then the weeks and days gone by. For example: “today is 29 days, which is 4 weeks and 1 day of the omer” (Orah Hayyim 489:1). You can count in any language, but it’s nice to count in Hebrew if possible.
  • It’s customary to only recite the berakhah at night. If you forget sefirat ha-omer at night, you can count during the day without a berakhah.
  • There’s a debate about whether sefirat ha-omer is one big mitzvah or 49 separate mitzvot. Because of the opinion that it’s one big mitzvah, the common practice is that people only say the berakhah if they have counted every single day. If you miss an entire day, you continue to count for the rest of the omer, but without a berakhah.
  • Similarly, if you become bar/bat mitzvah in the middle of the omer, it’s possible that you shouldn’t continue counting with a berakhah, even if you counted with a berakhah every day before. That’s because you were a kid for part of the omer, and then you became an adult. Some people think your adult self can’t finish doing a mitzvah your kid self started (Shut Yabi’a Omer 3:27-28). But some people think your adult self can continue where your kid self left off (Arokh Hashulhan Orah Hayyim 489:15). Try asking your rabbis or teachers what they think!