Counting the Omer – What’s the Weather?

Jerusalem, 10 Iyar ’69, 25th of Omer, Netzach Sheh B’ Netzach

We are now counting the 7 weeks between Pesach and Shavuot. A tense period, during which certain mourning rites are observed. As I type, I look out my Jerusalem window, and see a dust-filled sky and city. That’s right, it’s a Hamsin, a hot, dust-storm day. 

Did you know that the Arabic word Hamsin is related to the Hebrew word Chamishim? Chamishim means fifty. A Hamsin is likely to occur during this 50 day period between Pesach and Shavuot, the period of the counting of the Omer.

I learned about this from the book, Nature in our Biblical Heritage, by Nogah Hareuveni, director of Neot Kedumin, the Biblical Nature Preserve.

During these weeks, the “seven species” of Eretz Yisrael are particularly vulnerable and their agricultural fate is in the balance. Therefore, farmers  count off each day with trepidation and hope.


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