Young Israel of Toco Hills Rabbi Adam Starr came up with a way this year to combine the mitzvah of counting the days from Pesach to Shavuot with dental hygiene: toothbrushes that carry the message “Brush. Floss. Count Omer.”
As Rabbi Starr shared on his Facebook page before Passover and as North Jersey’s Jewish Standard reported during the holiday, the brushes treat not only tooth decay, but also the risk of forgetting to count the Omer every night — an easy enough oversight if you don’t go to synagogue nightly for seven weeks.
As noted by Larry Yudelson at the Jewish Standard — which, like the AJT, is one of The Times of Israel’s local partners online — if you forget the count for even one of the 49 nights from the second night of Passover to Erev Shavuot (May 30 this year), you aren’t permitted to recite the blessing connected to the count until the next year’s Omer.
“As everyone should be brushing their teeth before they go to bed at night, it’s a great time to remember to also count the Omer!” Rabbi Starr wrote on Facebook.
He noted that it’s common practice for Jews to break out new toothbrushes at the start of Passover, thus ensuring that cleaning their teeth won’t bring them into contact with chametz.
Because of the sponsorship of Toco Hills resident Noam Green and his Decatur practice, Green Orthodontics, people didn’t have to buy new toothbrushes for Passover. They got them free, with the bonus of the mitzvah reminder.