The Mitzvah of the Omer

In Parshat Emor we read about the Omer.


The Mitzah of the Omer is only observed in the Land of Israel, Vayikra 23:10: “When you shall enter the Land that I give you and you reap its harvest, you shall bring an Omer from your first harvest to the Kohen…”


Before any grain produce of the new crop may be eaten, an Omer, a measure of ground barley (containing the volume of 43.2 eggs) must be brought to the Beit HaMikdash on the second day of Pesach as an offering showing that we appreciate the fact that the produce of the Land is a gift from God.


Even thought the farmers worked hard in order to work the Land, at the end of the day, the produce would not have grown without God’s help.


Today, we don’t bring the sacrifice since there is no Beit HaMikdash. We still count the days of the Omer which was a Biblical obligation but now is probably only a Rabbinic obligation since we don’t have the Beit HaMikdash.


The paragraph that we read before saying the blessing over counting the Omer comes from Parshat Emor, Vayikra 23:15 “You are to count from the morrow of the rest day (starting the Second day of Pesach), from the day that you brought the Omer offering that is waved- they are to be seven complete weeks- until the morrow of the seventh week you are to count fifty days and then offer a new meal offering to God.”


After we say the blessing and count the appropriate day we say “May God return for us the service of the Beit HaMikdash to its place, speedily in our days.”


Even though we are still counting the Omer by Rabbinic law, we pray for the day that we can fulfill the Biblical commandments of the Omer offering and the counting of the Omer in Yerushalayim.