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    Seven weeks of counting

    Between Pesach and Shavu’ot we count the days of the Omer because of a verse in Lev. 23 which commands us to keep a daily count from “the morrow of the day of rest”, which denotes the day following the first yom-tov day of Pesach.

    In ancient times there was a separatist community which promoted the claim that “the day of rest” indicated the first Shabbat of Pesach.

    Those who followed this practice had a calendar with a variable date for Shavu’ot at the end of the seven weeks. Normative rabbinic Judaism, however, interpreted “day of rest” as yom-tov.

    Counting the days produced a link joining the two festivals of Pesach and Shavu’ot. The link is not merely calendrical but philosophical, since Pesach emphasises freedom and Shavu’ot tells us what to do with the freedom, i.e. to choose the way of life that is governed by the observance of the mitzvot.

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