Now that we have celebrated Pesach (the Feast of Passover), we have entered a special season of counting, laid out for Israel in Leviticus 23:10-16. Just after the feast, the sons of Israel are commanded to bring an omer to the priests. This omer is simply a sheaf—a bundle of grain from the beginning of the first crop. The priest waves the omer before Adonai as a “wave-offering,” so that the omer—and the entire harvest as well—will be accepted. Then, beginning with the day of the wave-offering, Israel counts 49 days, and on the 50th day—the Feast of Shavuot—a new offering is made from the wheat harvest. We can therefore infer that during the time of counting, the wheat crops are continuing to grow and ripen, but will be ready for harvest when the counting is complete. So the counting is a feature of Israel’s calendar that instructs her regarding the correct time to harvest and make an offering from the mature wheat crops.

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