When we count the Sefiras Haomer, why do we count up and not down?

5 Answers 5


We count up because the Pasuk (Vayikra 23:15) says to count "from the day of the Omer-offering" not "to the day of Shavuot".

  • It says when you start it doesn't say "from one". Anyway, who's your source?
    – Al Berko
    Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 22:57
  • @AlBerko: The time span in question lasts for seven weeks of seven days each, and, in Hebrew, weekdays are (obviously) counted upwards, not downwards; so, in the first week, the reckoning starts and ends normally, like in any other week, but afterwards, instead of resetting, as it usually would, continues to increase, until it finally reaches 49.
    – user18041
    Commented Apr 25, 2019 at 7:06

This question is asked in Sefer Hachinuch (Mitsva 306):

וזהו שאנו מונין לעמר, כלומר, כך וכך ימים עברו מן המנין ואין אנו מונין כך וכך ימים יש לנו לזמן,‏

Why we opted for counting from the omer, as if to say "so many days passed from the count". But we do not count "so many days until the time"?

כי כל זה מראה לנו הרצון החזק להגיע אל הזמן, ועל כן לא נרצה להזכיר בתחילת חשבוננו רבוי הימים שיש לנו להגיע לקרבן שתי הלחם של עצרת, ‏

Because that shows a strong voluntary to reach to the time. So we don't want to remember from beginning of the count the great amount of days until the Korban Shte Halechem of Shavuot.

ואל יקשה עליך לומר אם כן אחר שעברו רב הימים של שבעה שבועות אלו, למה לא נזכיר מעוט הימים הנשארים? ‏

But do not ask, "Therefore, when the majority of the days of the seven weeks passed, why not count the few remaining days?

לפי שאין לשנות מטבע החשבון באמצעו. ‏

This is in order not to change the method of count in the midst of count.


Actually we count down! - We start from Hesed and work our way to Malchus. We start from simplicity, working our way to ever greater complexity. The more fleshed out, complex, and variable things are the more Earthly they are and the simpler things are the more spiritual they are. We always work down from Klal to P'rat, from generalities and simplicity which oversee reality to details and complexity that are intimately involved with reality.

  • Counting implies Numbers.Cute Pshat none the less Commented Apr 19, 2010 at 22:45
  • That's the whole point- The higher the number the more the involvement with the more Earthly reality. It is up regarding quantity but down regarding the hierarchy of the sefiros.
    – Yahu
    Commented Apr 20, 2010 at 0:34
  • And sefiros means numbers as well- But that is fora different discussion.
    – Yahu
    Commented Apr 20, 2010 at 0:45

I have heard that we count up because each day of Sefira builds on the previous one, towards the ultimate goal (i.e. working on all our Midos).


not to say Yahu is wrong but my idea why we count up is because we count up to the top level of binah-understanding. in that case we count "up".

  • 2
    That's "Rebbi" to you!
    – Yahu
    Commented Apr 20, 2010 at 0:44

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