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Bible Department

Parshat Emor and the Count of the Omer
3395a54c-763b-4395-80b3-b7934aba94fbBy Rabbi Peter Stein, Bible Dept. Chair

WHEN PEOPLE LOOK forward to something they frequently count down the days — the days until a wedding, a big trip or summer vacation, for example.  For Jews, counting has been a part of our tradition for thousands of years.
In this week’s Torah portion, Emor, God commands the Israelites to count the days between Passover and Shavuot. These two holidays represent key moments in our people’s history. If Passover marks the birth of our nation as we left slavery in Egypt, Shavuot reminds us of our purpose. On Shavuot, we celebrate receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai, and with it our sacred mission as a people.
As we count the days from Passover to Shavuot — a 49-day period called the Omer — we are reminded that being Jewish carries with it big responsibilities. The Torah, which we proverbially receive anew each
Shavuot, makes serious demands on us as Jews. As we continue our counting with anticipation, let us consider how we will engage with this

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