Counting the Omer
Culled from The Encyclopedia of Jewish Symbols by Ellen Frankel and Betsy Platkin Teutsch
Starting with the second day of Passover and extending until the start of Shavuot is a period of seven weeks. During this time, Jews are told to count the days – called sefirat ha-omer, the counting of the omer. This is the same period of time that it took for our ancient ancestors to leave Egypt until they received the Ten Commandments at Mt.Sinai. It was an ancient practice to bring an omer, or sheath, of barley to the HolyTemple in Jerusalem as a Passover offering. Today, we remember this practice by saying a special prayer each of the seven weeks of the omer, each day ending with the recitation of how many days of the omer have passed. This is also a period of time with several restrictions on Jewish life, much like the restrictions place on one who is in mourning. One is not to play music or listen to live music; hair cutting is prohibited nor are weddings to take place. The only exception to this is on the 33 day of the omer, called Lag (33) b’Omer. This day is celebrated as a minor holiday though the exact reason why is not known. Some have suggested that it is the day a terrible plague ceased during the time of Rabbi Akiba. So devastating had been this epidemic that at least 24,000 of R. Akiba’s students perished. Others say that it was on this day that Bar Kochba recaptured Jerusalem from the Romans. Whatever the reason, weddings and celebrations, the cutting of hair, etc. are all permitted on Lag B’Omer.
I also found this at http://www.ohr.edu. It said much the same, but gave this insight as well.
The Omer period is a time of heightened spiritual sensitivity and growth. The closer Shavuot draws, the greater our anticipation grows for the climactic celebration of the Giving of the Torah, the watershed event of Jewish history.
However, the greater the potential there is for growth and building, the greater the potential there is for destruction. Consequently, in eras when the Jewish People have not lived up to their potential, the Omer period has become one of tragedy.
Now for my comment…
So this is why….we are NOT drawing neigh to God through the Counting of the Omer. It was His instruction…no Jew made this up to do. I take this personally because I have tried to determine what is for me as I do live “outside” the land of IsraEL. But, when my pond dries up before the years of blessing and I have to water my garden daily…you remember those years. Then when our pond overflowed and the hay was more abundant that ever…even the farmer didn’t cut when he should as he had too much hay. But, we still have the hay from the Sixth Shemittah cycle of blessing (for us).
Now what would you think if your pond was drying up again. Hmm. Yes, what is going to fall is going to fall. We have record breaking 1st time ever rain in Oklahoma calling for first-time ever disasters. Now we have Ana forming for another unusual (before normal) storm abrewing off the Atlantic.
No…I’m not putting that garden in. I am resting from any work on it’s soil. I see The Hand of God…is your well being worth…a Garden? Nothing is worth my disobedience to my Creator who controls everything…even the tornadoes that passed by us last night. I pray He keeps me in His arms and leaves my property to flourish…in this 7th Shemittah cycle as he commanded IsraEL to do…I will do. I don’t have to be in that land…because I see Him in MY land and in MY life. I will NOT tempt my Adonai.
Okay…big breathe….now think about this…
We know that when Yeshua (Jesus) died he rose from the grave and then went back to the Father to lay his blood on the altar. When He returns they now could touch Him as we see Thomas doing so and proclaiming Yeshua as God.
Yeshua goes about teaching for forty days and nights just as Mosche was receiving his instructions for guiding the people at Mt Sinai. Mosche was there forty days and night and then got distracted by noise in the camp.
Thus, on the 50th Day of Counting of Omer the Jerusalem location is given the Holy Spirit (Ruach Ha Chodesh) at the Spring Feast of Shavuot.
What happens at the time of Mosche is that in the month of Tammuz they have built their own object to symbolize God. God did NOT choose this symbol. (There is nothing that can symbolize our Creator.) So, the days were interrupted in God speaking with Mosche and he was told to return and see for himself what the children had done. It will be in the Fall that the second forty-days and night occurs with God instructing Mosche. It is then that he returns on Tishrei 10, known as Yom Kippur, Day of Judgment, Day of Atonement. He goes up the Mt. Sinai on Elul 1 and comes back shining in the glory of God on Yom Kippur…their Day of Atonement.
In the desert we see a five day collection of items to build the wilderness Tabernacle and then an eight-day festival begins on Tishrei 15. Thus, we do see the Holy Spirit acting and the people responding as the Holy Spirit is teaching them how to construct the Tabernacle. (It is a Tabernacle in the wilderness that was erected and then when they are in the land it is called a Temple.
We now understand that Lag B’Omer just comes from the Hebrew numbers that total 33. It is the 33 Day of the Counting of the Omer.
When I read the scriptures I saw that they were reading more about how to really make sure the ‘offerings’ were done correctly before God.
Now, in these thoughts, we see that the Counting of the Omer is a very serious thing and that on the 33rd day they now get to relax. Just as God does turn some stressful days into good days…we see that here.
Now, if God’s children are not paying attention…especially since we (Christians) didn’t really even know much about what Lag B’Omer was even about (including myself), then I don’t think it is to our surprise that judgment falls for us during this time. And, especially on their joyful day..it would be extra strong repercussion.
If we aren’t showing ‘respect’ to God, then why should He show respect and even hear the prayers we offer. He does say we will call on Him and He will say, “I didn’t know you.” He didn’t know us because we didn’t know His ways. That makes sense to me…I hope it does to you
I’m going to post this now…But my heart quickens as I see we are about to set another record for storms that start before June 1. Ana is forming in the Atlantic and this is the Shemittah year that what will fall is going to fall. The last time we had a storm start before June 1 was in 2007. It was May 6, 2007 in the 6th Shemittah year that is of the double cursing or blessing. We are in this seven-year cycle and it’s happening before our eyes once again.
I drive in the morning to Mississippi where these hurricanes wreck havoc. I pray for God’s protection during this time…I will be recognizing and be praying every day of The Counting of the Omer.
You………hmm……. It has to be your heart that saves you…not a work. But, it is this work that shows God your heart….James tells us that.