13 and Shabat

There are almost only five weeks and one day left of the Omer. Get it while it’s hot.

More from Rabbi Jill Jacobs and My Jewish Learning:

One rabbinic debate considers whether there is one cohesive mitzvah to count seven weeks and fifty days or whether each night of counting constitutes a separate mitzvah. This debate would seem immaterial, if not for the proscription against reciting a blessing “in vain”–that is, not for the purpose of doing a mitzvah.

If there is a separate mitzvah to count each night, then forgetting one night would have no effect on one’s ability to count subsequent nights. If, however, there is one collective mitzvah to count the entire period, then missing one night disrupts the entire count.

The rabbis effectively split the difference, and conclude that a person who forgets to count the omer on a particular night may count the next morning without reciting a blessing, and then may continue counting as usual–with a blessing–that night.

If, however, one forgets to count the omerat night and also forgets to count in the morning, one should still count the omer on every subsequent night, but should no longer recite a blessing before counting.

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