Day 22 of the Omer

בַּעֲטִיפַת טַלִּית גָּדוֹל אֵין צָרִיך לְכַסּוֹת רֹאשׁוֹ עַד פִּיו.

When enwrapping oneself in a tallis and bringing its upper edge forward over the head, there is no requirement to cover one’s face as far down as the mouth.

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּהִלְכוֹת צִיצִית אֲשֶׁר בַּסִּדּוּר. אֲבָל נוֹהֲגִין לְכַסּוֹת בְּחֶלְקוֹ הָעֶלְיוֹן שֶׁל הַטַּלִּית גָדוֹל גַּם הָעֵינַיִם.

נוֹהֲגִים לִלְמוֹד בִּימֵי הַסְּפִירָה מַסֶּכֶת סוֹטָה — נוֹסָף עַל שִׁעוּרִים הַקְּבוּעִים — דַּף לְיוֹם דַּף לְיוֹם.

The above appears in the Laws of Tzitzis, in the Siddur.1 However, it is customary to draw the upper edge of the tallis as far down as to cover the eyes.2

During the days of the Counting of the Omer, in addition to one’s regular program of Torah study, it is customary to study Tractate Sotah, one folio3 per day.

Delving Deeply

The obvious reason for studying Tractate Sotah at this timeis that the 49 pages of the tractate4 correspond to the 49 days of the Omer. There is, however, a deeper connection.5

Almost all the meal offerings brought in the Beis HaMikdash consisted of wheat. Only the sotah and the Omer offerings consisted of barley. Now, whereas wheat products are generally consumed by humans, barley is primarily used for animal fodder.6 We can thus understand why it is used for the sotah offering. As the Sages explain,7 “She performed an animalistic act,8 so her sacrifice consists of animal fodder.” For a similar reason, the Omer offering also consists of barley. For in the course of the days during which each of us counts the Omer, our main spiritual task is to refine our animal nature, as we emerge from the darkness of our personal Egypt and move forward to receive the Torah afresh on Shavuos.9