Counting the Omer in the digital age
A new app is seeking to utilize the benefits of the digital age to expose the Jewish practice of 'counting the Omer' to a wider audience.
by Tal Polon, Arutz Sheva
April 20, 2017
A new smartphone app is seeking to utilize the benefits of the digital age to expose the traditional Jewish practice of “counting the Omer” to a wider audience.
Popular website for Jewish content Chabad.org is celebrating the third year of its “Omer Counter app,” which automatically keeps track of aggregated Omer counts and then updates the counter. The app also includes daily meditations associated with each specific day of the Omer counting.
During the period between Passover and Shavuot, Jews around the world "count the Omer." An Omer is the measure of barley harvested and brought to the Holy Temple as an offering on the second day of Passover. The 49 days of counting, which began on the evening of the second day of Passover, continue until the day before the holiday of Shavuot. Each evening, Jews say a blessing and count both the days and weeks that have passed since the first night they counted.
Jews are called to work on rectifying a specific character trait for each day of the counting of the Omer, just as the Jewish people sought to rectify themselves after the Exodus from Egypt - on Passover, in anticipation of receiving the Torah - on Shavuot.
On another plane, the Omer period marks the time during which 24,000 students of the great Torah sage Rabbi Akiva died. For this reason, mourning customs are observed during the period.
Lead app developer Dov Dukes said that the app aims to bring the practice of counting the Omer to as many Jews as possible around the world.
“Through organic sharing, this app has, thank G-d, reached a very broad cross section of the Jewish people,” he said. “We’re aiming again to get at least 1 million Omer counts from around the world.”
“The point is to help demonstrate that counting the Omer is an easy mitzvah we can all do during this time of year,” Dukes added. “The app makes it all that much easier, and the campaign adds another incentive to get people to join in something positive and inspirational. As I see it, this is just one more way to make every day count - quite literally.”