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Leviticus 23:15 says (JPS):

וּסְפַרְתֶּ֤ם לָכֶם֙ מִמָּחֳרַ֣ת הַשַּׁבָּ֔ת מִיּוֹם֙ הֲבִ֣יאֲכֶ֔ם אֶת־עֹ֖מֶר הַתְּנוּפָ֑ה שֶׁ֥בַע שַׁבָּת֖וֹת תְּמִימֹ֥ת תִּהְיֶֽינָה׃

And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the day of rest, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the waving; seven weeks shall there be complete;

The term ספירת העומר means "counting of the omer". We're not counting the sheaves themselves. We're counting the days that follow the bringing of an offering on the 2nd day of Pesach. Perhaps, a better term would be ספירת הימים אחר העומר - "Counting of the days after the Omer", or something similar.

Even the actual counting itself, we say, "Z days (weeks) to (or "of") the Omer". This seems confusing or misleading, as it seems to indicate that the omer was brought every day for 50 (49) days!

Is there some other meaning within the usage of this term, perhaps?

Note - The number 50 in the title is left there, intentionally: See here.

  • 37 days [since] the Omer. This sounds like a pretty reasonable colloquial shortening of your extended precise phrase. I don't really see any problem. – Double AA Apr 1 '15 at 14:37
  • judaism.stackexchange.com/q/38146/759 Is there a need to comment about it in this post? Seems like just clutter. – Double AA Apr 1 '15 at 14:41
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    @DanF An easier way to avoid comments asking why the title says "50" is to not have it say "50", inasmuch as we don't count 50 days. – msh210 Apr 1 '15 at 18:11
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    I don't get why the JPS says "sheaf". The Torah says the עֹמֶר was a tenth of an efa, and while I suppose you can translate that as "this sheaf was a tenth of an efa measure", that doesn't seem more reasonable than "an omer measure is a tenth of an efa measure" (which is also how Chazal read it IINM). – msh210 Apr 1 '15 at 18:14
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    @msh210 the word can also mean sheaf - even one that has more than an omer of grain in it. sefaria.org/Mishnah_Peah.6.6 – Heshy May 5 at 22:48
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I found an explanation in my “Hasiddur Hameforush Hechodosh” .

It says that the expression ספירת העומר is a short expression which signifies counting which starts from the day of the bringing of the Omer. The issue is that there is no felicitous expression other than ספירת העומר. For if we were to say על ספירת הימים we would still have to specify which days and if we said על ימי העומר, there is only one day and if we were to say על ספירת הימים הבאה מיום הבאת העומר עד עצרת that would be too long. Source Meiri Pesachim 121b.

Hat-tip to @DoubleAA.

  • I have to admit - After 4 years, some of my own questions get a bit "stale". In reading my own question now, I;m wondering, mainly, "Why did I ask this one?" I appreciate the answer, though. It makes sense. If I have a chance, I'll investigate Meiri as you mentioned. – DanF May 12 at 22:45

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