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I Keep On Forgetting To Count the Omer!

I Keep On Forgetting To Count the Omer!

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Question:

I enjoy counting the Omer very much, because I relate to the self-improvement/awareness that it brings me each day. So, it’s disappointing when I miss a day . . . very much so. The entire point of the exercise is to be cleansed of my encrustations of evil in these facets, and missing one (or several) makes me feel incomplete, like I’m still carrying a half-dozen of the encrustations. Besides the fact that I can no longer count with a blessing.

Is there something specific I can do to rectify missed Omer counting days? Or is there some other exercise with a similar effect as counting the Omer?

Response:

Each day of the Omer count provides a unique opportunity that no other day can provide: A chance to clean up another part of the soul, to be prepared for the Giving of the Torah on Shavuot. Counting that day is a major part of that cleansing process.

When we miss an opportunity like that, we look around for some way to travel back in time and do it right. Basically, we need a time machine.

Well, a time machine exists, and it’s called “do it right from now on” (a.k.a. teshuvah). It’s not so hard to operate: Having expressed remorse for the past, you make a strong resolution to make sure those mistakes can never happen again—and that itself reaches back in time and heals the omissions of the past.

There’s a caveat, however: “I’ll try better from now on” is not necessarily enough. We need to find something substantial that will pretty much guarantee no mess-ups from now on.

Being another of those forgetful, absent-minded types, I’ve found over the years that there is really only one solution to never forgetting the Omer: to count with a minyan every night. What I’m suggesting, therefore, is that you take upon yourself to pray with a minyan every night until Shavuot. That will ensure you don’t mess up from now on. And besides, you will be able to hear the blessing from the leader of the prayers, who has everyone in mind when he says that blessing. Resolve, as well, to do the same next year, if possible.

(When making this resolution—or any resolution, for that matter—make sure to say that you are doing this “without any vow.” In Hebrew, that’s bli neder.” That’s important, since breaking a vow is very serious business in Torah terms.)

If there’s no minyan within a reasonable distance, you should at least find out what time the closest minyan convenes and always pray at that time. This solution is presented in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 90:9: “One who is incapable of coming to the synagogue should aim to pray at the time when the congregation prays.” Rabbi Moshe Isserles adds in his gloss that this also applies to those who live in places where there is no minyan.

Hey, you could even ask a friend to “Skype you in.”

Try this out and let me wish you the traditional blessing of “May you receive the Torah this year with joy and in an inner way!”

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, a senior editor at Chabad.org, also heads our Ask The Rabbi team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular updates of Rabbi Freeman's writing, visit Freeman Files subscription.
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Discussion (11)
May 4, 2011
Re: Counting the Omer
What that someone told you is the opinion of Rabbi Chaim David Azulay, (known as "the Chida," 18th century). Almost all other rabbinic opinions, however, state otherwise.

Nevertheless, if you are certain that you did miss one night, you should continue counting, but without saying a blessing.
Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
May 4, 2011
Counting the Omer
Someone told me years ago at the second Seder, not to start counting unless one expects to do it every day.
What is the ruling on this matter or do different experts have different answers ?
Thank You.
Jack
Midland Park
May 3, 2011
Does counting the Omer help those who, at the same time worship the modern day golden calf?
Anonymous
Very, Sodom
July 29, 2010
The high-tech solution
It is not particularly hard to set an "appointment" in either Microsoft outlook or your phone/PDA/whatever that will remind you at a pre-set time every day. You can even (with somewhat more effort), pre-enter the numbers, so that it reminds you on each day what number you should say that day.
Stephen Weinstein
Camarillo, CA
May 24, 2010
Women are not so obligated to pray maariv (evening services), and rarely with a minyan (quorum). Also in my town the men pray early, with the plag, so counting when davening maariv is not an option.

We have a sign in the bathroom so we see it as we brush our teeth.

But this year I put an alarm on my phone (actually an appointment on the calendar that I updated each night) It worked perfectly.
Sarah Masha
W Bloomfield, MI/USA
May 8, 2010
Phone alarm
Set a daily phone alarm at night as a reminder, and put a tally sheet (tallying day number) next to the place you pray everyday (it's good to pray in the same place anyway- helps get in the 'zone').
Anonymous
Westmont, NJ
May 5, 2010
Hang up a big sign on your door or your fridge or any place that you see often (over the clock?): Did you count the Omer yet?
I hang up an omer calendar in our living room, that works well.
Good luck,
Shoshannah Brombacher
brooklyn, ny
May 3, 2010
I always count right before I say the bedtime Shema. If it's done the same time everyday, you can't forget. Keep a clip at the page of the sefira counting.
My son has a reminder twittered to his phone everyday. However, he does pray with a minyan every day and that pretty much does it for him. When we make an early Shabbos that can be an issue at which point I remind them when I'm counting.
Anonymous
Brooooklyn, NY
April 30, 2010
Skype group
I love this idea too.
Anonymous
upperco, md/usa
April 29, 2010
Reminder
Try this link for email reminders
www.chabad.org/tools/subscribe/default_cdo/subid/16
If someone forgot to count by night, he can count by Day without a blessing, and then continue counting with a blessing, as long as he did not miss out one day.
itche
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