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The verse in Vayikra (23:16) says:

עד ממחרת השבת השביעית תספרו חמישים יום
even unto the morrow after the seventh week shall ye number fifty days (OJPS, emphasis added)

In my experience the omer is only counted for 49 days. Is that accurate? In light of the above verse, why is that so?

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See Torah Temima. –  Double AA May 12 at 21:56
    
    
as an idea, we count as anticipation of matan torah. no point in counting further once you're there. –  ray May 13 at 17:57
    
@Ray - interesing "drash". Of course, a counter-argument would be that you should count further to rpresent increasing your knowledge of Torah! Just the same, the Torah, itself makes no direct mention that Shavuot is the day that the Torah was given, and as a matter of fact, if I understand, correctly, it was only the day that Aseret Hadibrot were announced (i.e. - the "start" of things.) Would be good for a different question on what exactly happened when... –  DanF May 13 at 19:11

2 Answers 2

For a start, the words before the ones you mention are:

שֶׁבַע שַׁבָּתוֹת, תְּמִימֹת תִּהְיֶינָה

Seven complete weeks are only 49 days.

Secondly, we see other times in Chumash that a number means "until, but not including" that number. For example in Devarim (25:3):

אַרְבָּעִים יַכֶּנּוּ, לֹא יֹסִיף

We only strike him 39 lashes; all the up to - but not including - 40.

That's also the simple explanation for the 70 souls that came down to Egypt with Yaakov: Breishith (46:27)

כָּל-הַנֶּפֶשׁ לְבֵית-יַעֲקֹב הַבָּאָה מִצְרַיְמָה, שִׁבְעִים

If you count them you only get to 69; all the up to - but not including - 70. (And yes, there's a known Medrash that the 70th was Yocheved born as they came through the gates.)

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עד ממחרת השבת השביעת תספרו חמשים יום

Ralbag (ad loc.) and Tosafos (Menachos 65 amud 2 s.v. "Kasuv", first explanation) explain this as:

until the day after the seventh week you should count — which is day fifty.

Thus, you count 49.

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That doesn't fit with the Trop. –  Double AA May 14 at 13:42
    
I agree with @DoubleAA regarding trope problem. But, since he mentioned trope, I did note that the word "Ad" has a munach which acts as a partial pause. Therefore, perhaps, that pause means "until" (comma), meaning "up to" but not including? –  DanF May 14 at 14:36
    
@DanF Why is Munach a partial pause?? –  Double AA May 14 at 14:38
    
@DoubleAA, read en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantillation#Third_level_phrases The munach is a "conjunction" which precedes the primary phrase. Listen to common laining of this trope, and you would hear a slight pause. –  DanF May 14 at 14:49
    
@DanF Right. Munach is a conjunction, not a disjunction. Why would there be a pause? –  Double AA May 14 at 14:55

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