Sfirat haomer is a mitzvah In the Jewish Halacha, in which from the day of the Pesach we are required to count forty-nine days. The day after this counting is complete, the fiftieth day, is the holiday of Shavuot, the anniversary of the giving of the Torah to the Jews. The counting is done out loud at night with a blessing.
The origin of the mitzvah comes from the book of Leviticus (23, 15-16):
” ‘From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD.”
In addition, in the book of Deuteronomy (16, 9-10):
“Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. Then celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the LORD your God has given you.”
Different explanations were offered to explain the meaning of the counting: the common explanation says that we begin to count a day after “yom tov” of Pesach, which is, according to tradition the memorial day of the Jewish salvation of Egypt.
50 days later, we celebrate the day of Shavuot, which symbolizes the giving of the Torah. It comes to show that the exodus of Egypt was only a mean to accomplish the cause – receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai.
The design of this device was inspired from numerous connotations:
The first, an abacus. Just as the abacus was used by my generation and the ones before as a method of learning calculation, I found it right as a referent of learning how to count. This device symbolizes the passing of the Jewish heritage, as a children’s game.
For the counting we use silver marbles (optional version of colored aluminum balls) that contains a magnet that enables the movement of the marbles. You count the passing day by moving up the needed amount of marbles. (the marbles come in two sizes, one for weeks and one for days).
The second, wheat/barley. The appearance resembles the wheat and the barley whom are the main ingredients of the offering of the “Omer”. The offering of the “omer” was sacrificed on the second day of Pesach, the first day of counting.
The third, the harp. The device is shaped as a harp. The harp is associated with King David who according to tradition died on the day of Shavuot.
The device can be used in three versions, by rearranging the components of the device:
- Candlesticks and counting of the omer format.
- Counting of the omer device.