The counting of the omer is linked so closely to the bringing of the omer. Why is counting a mitzva if we count from the harvest of the barley for the omer offering and we do not harvest that?


Vayikro (23:10-11) "When you come to the Land which I am giving you, and you reap its harvest, you shall bring to the kohen an omer of the beginning of your reaping... the kohen shall wave it on the day after the rest day."

Vayikro 23:15 "And you shall count for yourselves, from the morrow of the rest day from the day you bring the omer as a wave offering seven weeks; they shall be complete."

Devorim 16:9 "You shall count seven weeks for yourself; from [the time] the sickle is first put to the standing crop, you shall begin to count seven weeks."

(Thanks to Chabad.org for the translations.)

  • 1
    I'm not sure that the linkage is that apparent. True it does say "..from the day of bringing the Omer offering", but, we could argue that what we currently do is linked to the day that we used to bring the offering. I.e., there's one mitzvah to bring the offering. A separate mitzvah to count from that day. The counting was never specifically tied to only bringing the Omer.
    – DanF
    May 22, 2017 at 17:08

1 Answer 1


Tosfot (Menachot 65a) rules that indeed nowadays counting the Omer is a rabbinical Mitzva (as the Gemara there says: זכר למקדש הוא it's a remembrance of the Temple).

Rambam (Temidin 7:24) rules that the Mitzva to count applies always. Seemingly he thinks it's sufficiently disconnected from the actual Omer offering and more connected to the holidays of Pesach/Shavuot which still apply. (Note as well that while the Omer isn't offered nowadays, the day still permits the still biblical prohibition on the new grain, so there is a biblical Omer-like effect still today.)

There are plenty of Rishonim on both sides here (see Yitzchak Yerannen 5:53). The Shulchan Arukh (OC 489:2-4, see MB there) seems to rule like Tosfot.

  • Surprised that the Mechaber follows Tosfos and not Rambam.
    – DonielF
    May 22, 2017 at 17:22
  • @DonielF Conventional wisdom is that that's the majority opinion. I only quoted you two names. It's Tosfot, and the Ran, and the Rosh, and the Ittur, and the Chinukh... That said it's pretty debatable what's actually the majority view and also what the ShA holds. There's not much Nafka Minah though, except maybe counting during Bein HaShemashot, which anyway the ShA recommends being Machmir about.
    – Double AA
    May 22, 2017 at 17:24

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