Everything Counts in Small Amounts

Those who are familiar with the oddities of the Jewish calendar may be aware that a largish holiday begins tomorrow night (called Passover). Fewer people may be aware that on the second night of Passover begins… well, it’s not a holiday exactly, but it is a holy period, called the Omer.

Beginning the second night of Passover, every adult Jew is supposed to count off the 49 days (seven times seven weeks) that make up the period between Passover and the holiday of Shavuot, the holiday of the giving of the Torah. I have to say, it’s a bit of a pain. Not he counting, which is fine, but remembering to count properly, keeping track of which day it is, and so on. It’s enough of a difficulty that the Jewish legal code has instructions about what to do if you forget to count at the right time, or for a full day. You’ve got to count every day, or you lose your obligation to say the full blessing as you count.
The counting itself is a lovely tradition: each of the weeks represents one of seven traits of God, as does each day, so one develops a spiral of thoughts throughout the counting period (for example the trait of strength during the week of mercy… consider what that might mean as we approach the giving of the Torah… etc.)
Well, I decided that the best way to do this would be a sort of advent calendar, with little treats each day as you opened up the proper box to say the blessing for that day (hey, why should Christians get all the calendar fun?). At one time, I thoght the best way to do this would be through carpentry, but it’s been some time since I had any access to the proper tools,a dn I just didn’t want to wait anymore this year, so for pretty cheap I made one out of things that one could glue together – namely cardboard, cardboard, and , uh, some glue and glitter paper.

Almost everything came from the container store, and it took me about three days to make (including some glue drying time. Not labor intensive, but pretty sturdy anyway).
I’m happy to share instructions with anyone who wants to build one. I used a hard cardboard ornament storage box and three by three folded gift boxes (seven of which fit perfectly across, although you need two ornament boxes cut to size and glued together to get the height as only five rows tall fit, if you pop open the top edge of the ornament box).
The numbers for the days (written out in blue in Hebrew letters) as well as the blessing on the inside (which has the blessing, the day and date – in other words, everything you need for each day… no looking anything up!) are printed on clear sticky labels cut to size.

For your delectation:


(Not sure why the blessing box is shown on its side, just ignore that, it opens upwards (although you can make yours open any direction you want, of course)
I don’t think I”m quite done decorating it – obviously this is pretty simple, but the plus is that the boxes make it so that magic marker will write on them perfectly nicely, so if I go for color, that’s probably the way I’ll go. Stickers work fine too, but I’ll probably eventually go for a large picture that covers the entire front face of the Omer Counter. Happy counting!

XP Kol Ra’ash Gadol

5 Responses to “Everything Counts in Small Amounts”

  1. This is beautiful, KRG.

    Jewschool friends should that the Homer Calendar has moved to a new URL – homercalendar.net – and I hope everyone can spread the word.

    Eleven years ago I started the Homer Calendar as a lark. Basically, it’s one joke taken too far. But it was a huge hit, and Jews throughout the world used the calendar to count the 49 days from Pesach to Shavuot. Rabbis printed out pages, and educators shared it with their students. We were reviewed by the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Week, OU and Jerusalem Report, and mentioned in the NYTimes and Forward.

    If you haven’t seen the website, it includes an introduction to the omer count; a clickable calendar for each of the 49 days of the omer, with the day’s counting blessing and formula, in Hebrew, translated and transliterated, with a different Homer Simpson for each day; printable versions for each week and the entire 7-week period; and a comprehensive overview of the intersection of the Simpsons and Jewish life.

    The Calendar was hosted by JVibe.com all these years, but they’ve gone to olam haba, so this year we’ve got our own URL:
    homercalendar.net

    Also new this year, a twitter feed: @CountTheHomer. If you follow the feed, you’ll get tweets to remind you of each day’s count, with the links to the day’s page, and lots of omer and Simpsons updates, too.

    All the best for blessing of freedom for Pesach, and a completed count,

    Brian Rosman
    The Homer Calendar
    homercalendar.net


    Brian Rosman · April 17th, 2011 at 1:35 pm
  2. I love counting the Homer! I actually thought about doing the blessing box with little simpsons all over it, but I decided it would be better to stick with simple.


    Kol Ra'ash Gadol · April 17th, 2011 at 5:57 pm
  3. Can i put candy inside each box if I make one? hehe… or maybe a mini sheaf of wheat… frosted mini wheats! no, dang, not kosher…


    ariel · April 17th, 2011 at 9:03 pm
  4. KLP candy, sure… that’s what’s in a bunch of mine, actually. (Also some pretty rocks, small toys….)


    KRG · April 18th, 2011 at 9:03 am
  5. This is really beautful! Maybe someday I’ll make one of these for my son to enjoy.


    Reb Rachel Barenblat · April 21st, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Leave a Reply

If your comment does not immediately appear, do not freak out and repost your message a dozen times. Please note that all new visitors must have their first comment approved by the editor, and you must provide a legitimate e-mail address and use the same username for the system to "remember" you. The editor maintains the right to refuse comments deemed inappropriate or unhelpful. Users who repeatedly delve into ad hominem attacks or other troll-like behavior will be banned.

Trackback (Right-click & 'Copy Link...') | Comments RSS

"I may attack a certain point of view which I consider false, but I will never attack a person who preaches it. I have always a high regard for the individual who is honest and moral, even when I am not in agreement with him. Such a relation is in accord with the concept of kavod habriyot, for beloved is man for he is created in the image of God." —Rav Joseph Soloveitchik