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The Omer was an ancient Hebrew measure of grain. Biblical law (Leviticus 23:9-11) forbade any use of the new barley crop until an omer was brought as an offering to the Temple in Jerusalem.
We read the entire Torah over a year, beginning the cycle on the same week as Simchat Torah. The Torah is divided into 54 portions – or parashiyot – and, generally, one portion is read each week on Shabbat.