As a Wife and Mom, have you ever wanted to make something special for your family but you didn’t have the time or the energy to make it “perfect” so you just didn’t do anything at all? That’s what I battled recently. Here’s what I did to make counting the Omer fun and manageable for my family.
Starting the first night of Passover, the Bible says to count fifty days, or seven weeks, leading up to Shavuot – or most commonly known as Pentecost to Christians.
Then you are to count from the morrow after the Shabbat, from the day that you brought the omer of the wave offering, seven complete Shabbatot. Until the morrow after the seventh Shabbat you are to count fifty days, and then present a new grain offering to ADONAI.Leviticus 23:15-16 TLV
In Judaism, we count the Omer each night for fifty nights and sing the traditional blessing along with it.
“Tonight is twenty-six nights of the Omer, which is three weeks and five days.”
“Baruch attah ADONAI, Eloheinu Melech ha’Olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tizivanu al sefirat ha’omer”
“Blessed are You, ADONAI our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to count the omer.”
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post about Jewish Sensory Activities for Babies and Toddlers, I’m always looking for ways to help my daughter grow, learn and explore through her senses in a way that is meaningful to her faith in God. And if there’s one thing that Little Baby Bum has taught me over the last few months it’s that children can learn numbers, shapes, and colors with rhythm and cadence through engaging and educational nursery rhymes.
“The ants go marching ten by ten, ha-ra, ha-ra…”
“Five little ducks went swimming one day…”
“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, once I caught a fish alive…”
“Five little monkeys jumping on the bed…”
“Ten green bottles standing on the wall…”
Are you singing them in your head yet?
When my daughter was a newborn I didn’t know any nursery rhymes. And to be honest, I didn’t like any of them either. So I sang Hebrew liturgies to her for hours and hours because those were the only songs I knew by heart. (I still sing my daughter the Sh’ma in the morning and the Havdalah melody to put her to sleep every night. She also loves the v’shamru!) It wasn’t until my older sister — who not only has degrees in music performance but music education for children as well — taught me exactly how nursery rhymes develop a baby’s learning skills and why they’re so vitally important. Blew my mind. I’ll share them (and my sister!) with you sometime.
So having learned all of that, I’ve started looking at numbers, shapes and colors as games, puzzles, and melodies.
How can you connect faith with learning?
I’ve never cared to count the Omer in my life. The Rabbi would count the Omer at Synagogue during services on Saturdays and I figured that was enough, I had counted the Omer. But as I was reminded of it this year I saw it as an opportunity to make faith fun — and educational — for my family.
I set out to make the picture perfect countdown (count up?) to the Omer and quickly learned that I am running on a low when it comes to energy and creativity. As a new Mom teaching a baby how to sleep, I’m just so tired. But I wanted to do something together to make it special for my daughter to look back on. So instead of going out and buying supplies and creating this elaborate countdown that I’d then have to maintain, I took a moment to look at what I already had.
I found a previous crochet project I started and used it to hang cut up pieces of colored cardstock that have numbers drawn on them with a sharpie. Not very creative, right? But it works. And I did it. And it’s finished. And it’s special to us. And now every night we’ll count the Omer together with friends and family, put up a new link, and take a photo together!
Here’s a photo of my daughter counting the Omer with Grandpa!
Can you think of any fun ways to count the Omer? Share them with us! If you haven’t been counting it now is a great time to begin. We are only half way through!
To help you catch up you can download our free “Counting the Omer with the TLV Bible Society” coloring printable created by our team member Lauri Pack!
Do you know where else you can count the Omer? With our new 2019 TLV Seedtime planner. How do we live on Bible time in the modern world? This planner simply combines both the Gregorian and Lunar calendar into one uniting time in antiquity and modernity, making sense of how we live it out today. Check it out here!