Shavuos is the only holiday on the Jewish calendar without a set date. This is because it is always 51 days after the beginning of Passover, regardless of whether the Hebrew months in between have 29 or 30 days. After the beginning of Passover, the date of the Exodus, Israel took 50 days to spiritually ascend to the point of being able to receive the Torah on Shavuos, the date of our encounter with the Divine Presence at Mt. Sinai.
In Temple days, a special sheaf of wheat was cut on the second day of Passover. The Torah tells us about this offering in Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:9, where the verse tells us ” …you are to bring an Omer of the first of your reaping to the Kohen. And he shall waive the Omer before Hashem to your satisfaction….” As you might expect, Torah.org has a sheaf of learning material on this subject. [Pun intended!]
From then until Shavuos, it is a Mitzvah to “count the Omer,” identifying the day and week of the count until we reach 49 on the eve of Shavuos. Torah.org is pleased to offer a special daily reminder service, to ensure that you remember to count each day. Just send a blank email to [email protected] to join us for Sefiras HaOmer, the Counting of the Omer!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken
Director, Project Genesis / Torah.org