Rabbi’s Reflections – Tuesday, April 23, 2024


Counting the Omer

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.”

Barley is the first harvest of grain in Israel.  This instruction from the Lord commands us to count for 49 days (a week of weeks).  As we count, we count our blessings daily (including Shabbat) from Pesach (Passover) until Shavuot (Pentecost) which will take place on the 50th day, this year on Wednesday, June 12th.  That is… unless you count like I do (and a few other Jewish sects).  For some of us, Pentecost will take place on Sunday (for me, always on a Sunday, I’ll explain why in a moment), June 16th which is different from most of Judaism.

The first question to answer is, when do we start counting?  Leviticus 23:11 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.  Which Shabbat, a Saturday Shabbat or a festival Shabbat (Pesach)?  The rabbis have decided to begin counting on the day after the festival Shabbat of the first day of Pesach.  That “first day” Sabbath is described in Scripture.  Leviticus 23:6 On the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Matzot to Adonai. For seven days you are to eat matzah. 7 On the first day you are to have a holy convocation and you should do no regular work.

I could agree with that date to start except the day to end is also commanded to follow a Sabbath.  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 end of counting is clearly a Saturday Sabbath.  If you start counting, as the rabbis do, on the second day of Pesach, this year, the 49th day is Tuesday, June 11th, which is not a Shabbat, Saturday or festival.

I’m going to start counting from the day after the Shabbat OF Pesach, (next Saturday), Sunday, April 28th.  Seven complete weeks will end on Saturday, June 15th with the 49th day.  That will make our Shavuot, 50th day, June 16th (always a Sunday).  I can see you’re even more confused now.  Try this website for some clarity.  https://www.thetorah.com/article/when-does-counting-the-omer-begin  I make no promises.   


Happy Pesach!

We’ll get back to our series on Psalms with Psalm 6 tomorrow.  Today I’m writing for Tuesday, April 23rd, the first day of Passover on the Jewish calendar, which is a “no work” day of rest.  The honor given to this date goes back more than 3,500 years to the time when all the children of Israel were enslaved in Egypt.  In preparation for deliverance, they were given instructions.

Exodus 12:7 They are to take the blood (of the sacrificed lamb) and put it on the two doorposts and on the crossbeam of the houses where they will eat it. 8 They are to eat the meat that night, roasted over a fire. With matzot and bitter herbs they are to eat it.

Without a priesthood or a Temple, such a sacrifice is not possible today.  Also, there is only one “Lamb of God,” Yeshua, Who told us to eat matzah for His body.  At the Last Supper, on Erev Pesach,… Matthew 26:26 Now while they were eating, Yeshua took matzah; and after He offered the bracha, He broke and gave to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”  Besides, He is risen!  He doesn’t belong as a lamb on our plate.  We partake of His resurrected body, and receive eternal life.

John 6:33 “For the bread of God is the One coming down from heaven and giving life to the world.” 34 So they said to Him, “Sir, give us this bread from now on!” 35 Yeshua said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty.

Yeshua, Himself, is the reality of our Passover today.  We don’t eat lamb, we eat Matzah.  Chag Sameach Pesach… happy Passover holiday!     

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)

15 NissanTuesday23-Apr-24Pesach I

Exodus 12:29-51; Numbers 28:16-25 Joshua 5:2-6:1 1 Peter 2:18-25