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Thirty fifth day of the Omer

Each year I try to count the Omer, and each year I fail. That’s ok. It’s my family tradition, not managing to count the Omer.

Let me explain. The Omer didn’t feature heavily in my family’s Jewish practice when I was growing up. We always made kiddish on Friday nights, we sometimes made Havdalah at the end of Shabbat, but we never counted the Omer. Only when I was an adult did my mother aspire to purchase an Omer Counter, a little wooden scroll which could help her with the count. Eventually she found one she liked, and afterwards, at the Second Seder each Pesach, she started her count.

But – what with one thing and another – things always went wrong. She’d be still in the game for a few days, then one night she’d forget, or two, and that was it. And my mother was machmir, in that she understood that if you missed a day, you were out for the count. And she never made it through to Shavuot, and now she never will.

I didn’t get to inherit her Omer Counter, but I inherited many of her traits. And now it’s on me to continue our family tradition. So try as I might, until today I’ve never managed successfully to count the Omer. And that’s fine with me.

Rabbi Nathan Alfred


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