During this time of year, Jews count the Sefiras haOmer, or “Counting of the Omer,” fulfilling the Torah commandment, found in this week’s Torah reading (Leviticus 23:10-16), to count fifty days, beginning with the Omer offering on the second day of Passover, and ending with the festival of Shavuos (sometimes called in English “the Feast of Weeks” or “Pentacost”). The word “omer” (עמר) simply means “pile,” as the offering comprised of a pile of barley grain.
However, more deeply, the word omer (עמר) in Hebrew has the same numerical value as yekar (יקר) meaning “glory”:
(ע + מ + ר = 70 + 40 + 200 = 310)
(י + ק + ר = 10 + 100 + 200 = 310)
On Passover, we experienced God’s glory, as He redeemed us from Egypt through signs and wonders. However, the centuries-long sojourn in Egypt left the Israelites on a very low spiritual level, reaching forty-nine degrees of spiritual contamination. God redeemed Israel at that time not because of their merit, but because of His promise to Abraham.
Beginning the following day (the 2nd day of Passover), we bring God an offering of the omer, equal to the word yekar — glory — to begin a process in which we achieve an encounter with God’s glory through our own merit, not merely due to a promise. After fifty days of spiritual ascent, we reach the apex of spiritual wholeness, and experience the ultimate revelation of God’s glory — the giving of the Torah to the entire nation of Israel at Sinai.
May we merit to utilize these days to climb to our own personal spiritual heights!
Based on Mey haShiloach, Parshas Emor
(Image from Wallpaper Abyss)