The counting of the omer

Barley
Barley

Signification of the couting of the omer, the sfirat haomer

ספירת העמר

A process of sanctification

Click below to download the Chart of the midots and the Insctruction to use it,  and the calendar for the children

Omer, עמר, means “sheaf” and it is also a measure. 

ADONAI said to Moshe, “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘After you enter the land I am giving you and harvest its ripe crops, you are to bring a sheaf, omer, עמר of the firstfruits of your harvest to the cohen. He is to wave the sheaf before ADONAI, so that you will be accepted; the cohen is to wave it on the day after the Shabbat. On the day that you wave the sheaf, you are to offer a male lamb without defect, in its first year, as a burnt offering for ADONAI. Its grain offering is to be one gallon of fine flour mixed with olive oil, an offering made by fire to ADONAI as a fragrant aroma; its drink offering is to be of wine, one quart. You are not to eat bread, dried grain or fresh grain until the day you bring the offering for your God; this is a permanent regulation through all your generations, no matter where you live. “‘From the day after the day of rest–– that is, from the day you bring the sheaf, omer  עמר for waving–– you are to count seven full weeks, until the day after the seventh week; you are to count fifty days; and then you are to present a new grain offering to ADONAI. You must bring bread from your homes for waving–– two loaves made with one gallon of fine flour, baked with leaven–– as firstfruits for ADONAI. Leviticus 23:9-17

On the second day of Pesach, called a Shabbat, the counting of the seven weeks begins and an omer, a sheaf of the first fruits has to be brought: this sheaf or omer is the image of the Resurrection: 

But the fact is that the Messiah has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have died. 1 Corinthians 15:20

This first sheaf offering was of barley; the next offering which had to be brought at the end of the seven weeks was that of wheat: 

This is a symbol of PROGRESS AND MATURITY

Barley, which is a cereal, is harvested earlier than wheat and is less evolved than it; this new grain symbolizes the result of a spiritual maturity obtained through the process of sanctification. 

These seven weeks then, correspond to seven weeks of purification. As the counting ascends, we too are climbing up. 

According to Tradition, the Israelites descended downwards to the 49th level of impurity while they were in Egypt, a source of idolatry. They were not ready to receive the gift of the Torah and needed purification; this is what the counting of the omer teaches us. 

The Exodus is mentioned fifty times in the Torah and corresponds to the fifty levels of sanctification required to receive the Torah on the fiftieth day. [1] 

These 49 days or steps are passed through and the ascension to the throne of sanctity is suggested to us by the dream Yaakov had as he was fleeing from his brother Esav. He saw a ladder going up to heaven and G-d inviting him to go up step by step (Gen 28:12). 

It is when we are in Yeshua and through the work of His Spirit that we are given the ability to pass though these steps of sanctification: 

  Natan’el said, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Isra’el!”

Yeshua answered him, “you believe all this just because I told you I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than that!”Then he said to him, “Yes indeed! I tell you that you will see heaven opened and the angels of God going up and coming down on the Son of Man! John 1:49-52

At the end of this counting, comes the Feast of Shavuot (which means the Feast of the Weeks), and also the receiving of the Torah and the Day of Pentecost when the disciples received the gift of the Ruach Hakodesh, the Holy Spirit, who engraved the Torah on their hearts! 

These seven weeks also represents the spiritual progress that leads us to bear the fruits of the Ruach Hakodesh, meant to transform our old man into mature disciples, filled with wisdom in His image: 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self control. Nothing in the Torah stands against such things. Galatians 5:22 -23

The seven weeks are mentioned in the counting of the seven years to reach the Shmitah, the rest year. Then at the end of the seven year cycle comes the fiftieth called the Yovel, Jubilee. This final year is calling everyone to freedom.  

Pesach sets us free but doesn’t yet mature us; we must first be educated and restored in our thinking to become a holy people, who are beyond the drinking of milk and are ready to eat meat, as G-d requires. 

In the “Ethics of the Fathers” we find a mishna that teaches us that Torah can be obtained through forty eight ways (6:6 [2]):

Torah is greater than priesthood and kingship. For kingship can be obtained through thirty ways of perfection and priesthood with twenty ways but it requires forty eight for the Torah:

  • Through study: 

Let the Word of the Messiah, in all its richness, live in you, as you teach and counsel each other in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude to God in your hearts. Colossians 3:16 [3]

  • Through practice: 

Don’t deceive yourselves by only hearing what the Word says, but do it! James 1:22

  • Good disposal of the saying of our lips:

ADONAI, open my lips; then my mouth will praise you.Psalms 51:15

  • Through discernment of the heart: 

But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by continuous exercise to distinguish good from evil.  Hebrews 5:14

Let’s also mention patience, trust in the Word, the love of our neighbor, offerings, the love of correction, banishing pride, sharing the burdens, studying in order to teach, etc.

The seven weeks of counting symbolically brings us through the steps of sanctification, to resemble the One Who is the living Bread. These different steps are mirrored by the steps and tests that the children of Israel went through while coming out of Egypt. 

G-d calls us to perfection and we will find the way in Him, step by step: 

It is not that I have already obtained it or already reached the goal – no, I keep pursuing it in the hope of taking hold of that for which the Messiah Yeshua took hold of me. Brothers, I, for my part, do not think of myself as having yet gotten hold of it; but one thing I do: forgetting what is behind me and straining forward toward what lies ahead, I keep pursuing the goal in order to win the prize offered by God’s upward calling in the Messiah Yeshua. Philippians 3:12-14

Pesach:

The free gift, grace; G-d intervenes without Moshe for the last plague which will finally set the Sons of Israel free. 

The seven weeks of the omer:

A symbolic time under the number seven, that of perfection: 49 days to “work at our salvation” and sanctification.

Shavuot

 On the fiftieth day is the Jubilee: the glorious freedom of the children of G-d:

The Torah is engraved on the hearts and will produce men and women at the full stature of the Messiah! 

May we be transformed from glory to glory to become the pure and spotless Bride He expects! 

You will find more explanation in our book on the Feast of Shavuot

Celebration of the counting

The counting begins on the second day of Pesach for 49 days and on the fiftieth comes Shavuot.

We are commanded to count each day the omer:

ברוך אתה  יהוה אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו על ספירת העמר

Baroukh ata Hashem eloheinu, melekh haolam, asher kideishanu beimitzvotav  veitzivanu al sfirat haomer

Be blessed Hashem, our G-d, King of the universe, Who sanctified us through His commandments, and commanded us to count the omer

This prayer is followed with the reading of the Psalm 67 which is composed of 49 words (in Hebrew with the counting of the linked words).

We invite you to count the days and to meditate on the steps of sanctification which open our heart to His Word!

Chag Sameach   Happy festival!

חג שמח 

copyright ©2006/ 5767 All rights reserved No part of this publication may be translated, reproduced, without prior permission in writing from the publisher and copyright holder. 

Support this vision and be blessed. Israel needs you!

AttachmentSize
Barley93.85 KB
Calendar for children.PDF345.38 KB
Chart of the Midots.PDF113.16 KB
Instructions for using the chart of the Midots.pdf77.15 KB

Copyright 2009 All rights reserved