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We count 49 days from Pesach to Shavuot. Yet, every year, I mess up the counting.
Known as the Omer, counting, or Sefira, or Sefirat HaOmer, these 49 days are the greatest challenge of the Jewish people. Counting is not usually hard, but when you are required to do it, it's almost impossible.
Many feel alone and embarrassed when they forget to count the Omer. They have to tap out and see their countless friends walking with pride on the fifth day of the Omer. Your friends are still counting and gloating their achievement by saying the blessing in your face, and forcing you to say 'Amen' to your failure. None of you should feel alone.
Out of the millions that keep to this commandment, around 20 make it through to the end. I work in statistics, and the Jewish people is a large enough sample size to realize that I am not the only one who messes this commandment up.
Here are reasons I forget to count the Omer, and you do too:
72 Reasons I Forgot to Count the Omer
It was the third day of the Omer. So, I forgot.
I had to wait a whole day to get to the next number. I said ‘35’ and then somewhere, within those 24 hours, I forgot that the next day was number 36.
I saw a horse.
I had to put up the leftover lasagna in the microwave.
My sister asked me to watch her kids.
I was learning Torah.
Tax season. There were numbers involved with that too.
I went to sleep late.
I went to sleep early.
I went to sleep on time.
It was the third day of the Omer. I forgot to count the first two. You can’t decide to start counting on the third day.
The internet. I was trying to figure out if the padlock sign was really locked.
I asked somebody the day, they said what yesterday was. I got confused and that was it.
I missed Minyan. Not showing up to pray with other people, I learned that I cannot depend on myself.
I don’t look at my calendar. I miss a lot of meetings too. I should look at my calendar and be more dependable.
I asked somebody what day of the Omer it was. I was supposed to ask what day it was yesterday. I am such an idiot. I’ve got to learn how to ask questions.
I didn’t remember the day that was before. I said it, but I couldn’t remember.
Somebody asked me the day and I said it.
The second night of Pesach, after the seder, I said I was going to count. Then came the fourth cup of wine.
My upstairs neighbors were moving something. They did not lift their couch. Instead, they dragged it. So, I forgot.
I had school the next day.
I had to do homework.
A movie. I don’t even remember the movie. I just remember that it shifted my focus for long enough for me to forget to count.
I can’t focus for five minutes. I am going to have a hard time focusing for forty-nine days.
I don’t know if it is ADHD. I have a shorter attention span than that.
I went for a walk.
I was thinking.
I was thinking about the Omer.
I wasn’t thinking.
I think it was April 15th.
Left shul right after Maariv; just ran out, because we had to put the kids to sleep.
‘100 bottles of beer on the wall.’ I get lost at around 86. My attention doesn’t last that long.
When I go to sleep, I can count sheep up to fifteen. Then, I have to question if I truly got to fifteen, or if I skipped thirteen. Sefira, I mess up.
I forgot my niece’s birthday. It was a day.
I couldn’t find my other sock. So, I forgot.
I was on vacation.
It’s not something I get to decide on. It’s a requirement, and it is said at shul every night. And it’s something that is listed all over the internet and on every Jewish calendar, and on every Jewish handout and bulletin. Thus, I forget.
My niece’s piano recital.
Security at the supermarket.
I was on a flight and the pilot did not mention the day of the Omer, along with the altitude.
I remembered to count. And then, I forgot.
I didn’t know I was going to be asked to lead the Maariv service. If I would’ve known, I would’ve made sure to remember to count. I looked like a fool, who couldn’t say the Bracha.
There were no English subtitles on the Hebrew TV channel.
I had a cold.
I was at a baseball game.
I was never good at math. I always had to use popsicle sticks to count. I still had a hard time counting with popsicle sticks, as I was always trying to find the ices.
I was never good at English.
I was never good at social studies. That class confused me, because I thought it was history.
I don’t have decent reading comprehension skills.
I got into Yeshiva University because it is a Jewish school and they accept Jews.
I am bad at anything that has to do with school. Counting is one of them.
The TV was off. Somehow, that changed my focus.
I was online. I started reading news feeds and stuff my friends posted. Their posts made very little sense, but it kept me occupied for a very long time.
Got a call to help out in the house. Had to take it. Forgot the Omer, and got home late.
I have a chart in my kitchen, on the fridge, and near my bed. Still forgot.
The first night of the Omer counting is the second night Passover Seder in America. Nobody said anything after the Pesach Seder. I didn’t drink much at that Seder.
In Israel, there is no Seder on the second night. I forgot to count the first night.
A movie was on. It was very intriguing. I also do not remember what this one was about.
It was August.
My silent prayer took too long at Shul. And then, when I finished, everybody was already past the blessing for the Omer.
It was the third day of the Omer. So, I forgot.
I was reading an excellent article.
A fly was in my apartment.
Nobody reminded me to count. That was their fault.
I went to sleep.
I got up.
I thought about why I am counting. I still have no idea what the Omer is. I have no idea what I am counting. Yet, I count and it’s meaningful.
Now you know you're not alone. There are many other Jews that are also not doing a good job of keeping the Mitzvot. I hope that makes you feel better.
I don’t think I've ever made it the whole way through the full 49 days of counting. If nothing goes wrong this year, if I stare at the calendar, don’t talk to anybody and I don’t fall asleep, I think I can make it through the full Omer count.
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The Falafel of Etan
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