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by Avi Lowenstein    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

"When you shall enter the land that I give you and you reap its harvest, you shall bring an omer from the first of your harvest to the Kohen" (Leviticus 23:9).



"When you shall enter the land that I give you and you reap its harvest, you shall bring an omer from the first of your harvest to the Kohen" (Leviticus 23:9).

We are all familiar with the korban omer, the offering of the first crop of grain which initiated the 49-day count between the festivals of Passover and Shavuot. The question arises, why is this offering referred to by the term omer, which is merely the measurement of grain involved in the offering? What does the amount of barley tell us about the offering's essence and meaning?

Rabbi Yosef Salant, the legendary 19th century rabbi of Jerusalem, explains that by stressing this measurement, the Torah is reminding us of the manna which fell throughout the Jewish people's sojourn in the desert. No matter how much manna one would collect, when he measured it at home, there was always exactly one omer for each member of the house. The manna taught the Jewish people that Hashem is the one who provides us with our sustenance, and although we may toil to put food on the table, Hashem is our sustainer and all that we have is from Him.

This idea is especially pertinent at the time of year when the korban omer is brought, for it also marks the beginning of the harvest season. After months of back-breaking plowing, sowing, and tending a field, when the harvest finally starts to come in, one might think that all his work has paid off and that he will now be sustained in proportion to his effort. Therefore, the Torah reminds us with the korban omer that in truth, we are sustained in proportion to only one thing - Hashem's will. No matter how much effort one invests, Hashem will provide every individual with his allotted omer, no more and no less.

The recognition that all that we have is from Hashem is something that we remind ourselves of each time we recite a blessing. Before we benefit from worldly pleasures, we say "Baruch ata Hashem - Blessed are You, Hashem." The Rashba, a classic commentary on the Talmud, explains that the word "baruch - blessed" stems from the word "breichah" meaning "pool of water". As such, when we refer to Hashem as being "baruch" we mean that Hashem is a never-ending pool of plenty. When we make a blessing, we are thanking Hashem for all the good that He bestows upon us. We pray that He will continue to bestow plenty on the world so that, through that abundance, people will come to recognize His greatness.


Avi Lowenstein, who hails from Atlanta, is studying at the Yeshiva Toras Moshe in Jerusalem.

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