Rabbi’s Reflections – Monday, April 10, 2023

Rabbi Trail:  The counting of the Omer (a measure of barley) is commanded in the Bible.  Leviticus 23:9 Adonai spoke to Moses saying: 10 “Speak to Bnei-Yisrael and tell them: When you have come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you are to bring the omer of the firstfruits of your harvest to the kohen. 11 He is to wave the omer before Adonai, to be accepted for you. On the morrow after the Shabbat, the kohen is to wave it.  We started counting yesterday, April 9th.

The “Omer” is counted every day for seven weeks (a week of weeks or 49 days).  It represents God’s blessing for a full harvest.  We use it to count our blessings.  The 50th day is Shavuot (Pentecost), which is the final spring feast.  All of the spring feasts were fulfilled in the first coming of Yeshua, His crucifixion on the eve of Passover and His resurrection on the third day of Passover.

This final spring feast called Shavuot had its fulfillment with the giving of the Holy Spirit as recorded in Acts 2:1 When the day of Shavuot had come, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And tongues like fire spreading out appeared to them and settled on each one of them. 4 They were all filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh and began to speak in other tongues as the Ruach enabled them to speak out.

Mark your calendar… we will be celebrating Shavuot with a special service as we join with our friends at Grace and Glory Fellowship on the 50th day, Sunday, May 28th at 10:30.  We will follow that service with a picnic at Holston River Park, 3300 Holston Hills Road, less than a mile from the synagogue.  Please bring a salad, side, or dessert.  Shomair will provide everything else.

This year, our method of counting is two days behind the wider Jewish community.  There is a reason for that.  It depends how you interpret these verses from Leviticus….

Leviticus 23:15 “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. 16 Until the morrow after the seventh Shabbat you are to count fifty days, and then present a new grain offering to Adonai.”

The rabbis believe the Shabbat mentioned in Leviticus 23:15 is the commanded day of rest of the first day of Passover (the feast of Matzot), while I (along with many others and Karaite Jews) believe it is a reference to the first Saturday Shabbat after Passover begins.  So, for us, the counting always starts on a Sunday and every week of counting starts on a Sunday.

Therefore, the 50th day is also always on a Sunday.  This matches much better with Leviticus 23:16 which commands Shavuot to be on the day after the 7th Shabbat.  For the rabbis, counting by their method, that 50th day IS Friday, May 26th.  So, as Paul Harvey used to say, “And now you know the rest of the story.”  End RT.

Day 2 of counting the Omer

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל סְפִירַת הָעֹֽמֶר

Baruch Atah Adonai Elohenu Melech Ha-Olam, Asher Kid’shanu B’mitzvotav, Vitzivanu Al Sefirat Ha-Omer.

Blessed are You O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by his commandments and commanded us about the counting of the Omer.  Today is no weeks and two days of the counting of the omer.

Follow up that prayer by remembering a blessing from the Lord and give Him thanks.


Victory Over Sin 1 – Romans, part 62

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may abound? 2 May it never be! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

I plan to write more about this tomorrow.  For today, I just want to write against the error of “antinomianism.”  Paul begins his treatise against sin with a strong statement to refute those who believe such heresy.  Antinomianism is defined as, “The doctrine or belief that the Gospel frees Christians from required obedience to any law, whether scriptural, civil, or moral, and that salvation is attained solely through faith and the gift of divine grace.”

As with every heresy, it starts with the truth and then perverts it.  Grace is not a license to live like hell.  In fact, if you live like hell, you will bring shame on the name of Yeshua, and probably (although I’m not your judge) end up there yourself.  The “sinner’s prayer” is not in the Bible!

We are saved by grace alone, so that we can walk in righteousness.  To bring this into focus, let’s match up these two verses….

Titus 3:5 not by deeds of righteousness which we had done ourselves, but because of His mercy— He saved us through the mikveh of rebirth and renewing of the Ruach ha-Kodesh,

2 Timothy 2:22 Now flee from youthful desires; instead, pursue righteousness, faithfulness, love, and shalom, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

We are free in Yeshua, but freedom is never free.  It costs nothing, while at the same time, it costs everything.  Paul is going to take the next three chapters to describe in detail what it means to be victorious over sin.  This is our study assignment during the 49 days of the counting of the omer.  Paul will make this point shortly, but we’re going to end with it today.

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Day 2 of the Omer
Mon 10 April-2023 19th of Nisan, 5783 Pesach V
Ex 34:1-26, Nu 28:19-25 Isa 41 Pr 30 Jas 1 (Mt 1)