Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Omer counter

Beginning on the second day of Passover (evening of April 4 this year) Jews begin the Counting of the Omer. This is a countdown of the 49 days until Shavuot (or Pentecost, which celebrates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, evening of May 25 this year). The count is mandated in Leviticus 23, and a blessing is said each day. The period has also become a time of remembrance of 24000 Torah students killed either in a plague or by the Romans in the years 132-136. The 33rd day of the count is known as Lag BaOmer, which might mark the end of the plague, or else commemorate the life of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and the publishing of one of the key works of kabbalah, a day marked with bonfires. Anyway, always looking for a way to mix traditions with play, Joanna Brichetto of Bible Belt Balabusta has come up with a LEGO Omer Counter. Each day you open a door to reveal an object as you count down. The day of Lag BaOmer includes a small flame. Note the Passover Seder at the bottom and the tablets of the Law at the top to mark the start and the end of the count. Remember, Hebrew is read from right to left, so you start at the Seder in the bottom right and count your way to Sinai at the top left.

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